Published on August 10th, 2014 | by Michael J Smith0
Stewart Hits, Kills Sprint Car Driver
Tony Stewart struck and killed a driver during a sprint car race in Ontario County, New York Saturday night, according to multiple reports.
During the race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Stewart was racing with Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart squeezed Ward’s car up into the wall in Turn 2. Ward spun and received a flat tire as a result.
Ward then exited his car and began walking down the track to show his displeasure with the way Stewart raced him.
As Stewart approached on the caution lap, Ward began pointing at his car when he was clipped by Stewart’s car, then run over and thrown a few yards down the track. He didn’t move.
Ward was taken to Thompson Health and pronounced dead on arrival.
Police were investigating and said that Stewart was “fully cooperative.” They also said that this was not being investigated as a criminal matter.
It is unclear whether Stewart will race in the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen, a race very important to his Chase hopes.
Stewart Haas Racing issued a statement:
A tragic accident took place last night during a sprint car race in which Tony Stewart was participating. Tony was unhurt, but a fellow competitor lost his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We’re still attempting to sort through all the details and we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time.
Update: Stewart Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli said, “We’re business as usual, today,” indicating that Stewart will race at Watkins Glen International.
Also, Dale Earnhardt Jr tweeted:
We will all loose someone in our time. When a loss is sudden and unexpected, the pain & sadness is suffocating. Prayers for the Ward family.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) August 10, 2014
Update 2: Several of the initial reports have been updated to state that Stewart was “very upset” and “visibly shaken” by what happened.
Update 3: Tony Stewart will not race in the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. Regan Smith will fill in for Stewart.
Update 4: Tony Stewart issued a statement:
There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.
NASCAR also issued a statement:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and fellow competitors of Kevin Ward Jr. We support Tony Stewart’s decision to miss today’s race and we will continue to respect the process and timeline of the local authorities and will continue to monitor this situation moving forward.