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Subject: Tony Stewart hits, kills driver in sprint car race
Written By: AL-B Mk. III on 08/10/14 at 5:31 pm
Tony Stewart hits, kills driver in sprint car race
Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports 1:59 p.m. EDT August 10, 2014
Kevin Ward Jr., a 20-year-old race car driver, was killed Saturday night after he was struck on the track by NASCAR star Tony Stewart, according to Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip C. Povero.
During a sprint car race at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park, Ward was spun out by Stewart, got out of his car to show his displeasure and then was struck by Stewart's car, sending Ward sliding down the track, fellow sprint car racer Tyler Graves and witness Adam Dulski told USA TODAY Sports.
Povero confirmed the driver was taken by ambulance to Thompson Health and was pronounced dead on arrival.
The Ontario County Sheriff's Department confirmed the dead driver's identity later Sunday morning.
"This is an ongoing investigation of an on-track crash," Povero said.
Povero indicated Stewart, 43, was ''fully cooperative'' and that the incident is not being investigated as a criminal matter.
The sheriff's department said the cars involved were taken to private garages.
"Next is continuing interviews, a continued evaluation of evidence we have, including video, and there is certainly going to be an evaluation of medical evidence when it is collected from the autopsy," Povero said.
STEWART: Will not race at Watkins Glen
Mike Arning, a spokesman for NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing, which Stewart co-owns, issued the following 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."
NASCAR did not respond to USA TODAY Sports' request for comment.
The Ontario County Sheriff's Department confirmed deputies were on the scene and investigating an incident at the track before Povero spoke with the media around 3 a.m. Sunday morning.
Ward, who raced the No. 13 sprint car at the track, started racing go-karts in 1998 at 4, according to kevinwardracing.com.
Kevin Ward, 20, died after being hit by Tony Stewart's car at Canandaigua Motorsports Park Saturday night.
Coming out of Turn 2, Stewart's car squeezed Ward's car up into the outside wall, turning it around. Ward's car had a flat tire as a result, and he exited the car to show his displeasure with Stewart's move. He marched down the track and was pointing at Stewart's car as he approached on the ensuing caution lap. Stewart's car then clipped Ward, who was run over and thrown a few yards down the track.
"It happened in Turn 2," said the 27-year-old Dulski. "The prior lap, Tony had gotten into him – just spun him, nothing big, just spun him around. The caution came out. He hopped out of the car – the driver of the 13 ... he hopped out to go and yell and point a finger at Tony, typical thing.
"Tony came around ... the back end slid out, and he definitely caught him – I couldn't tell if it was with the front or the back of the car. ... The body made contact with the car and went sliding across the track. It was the worst thing I've ever seen."
Graves, 16, of Bolivar, N.Y., said he "grew up watching Kevin the last couple years, then I made the move to sprint cars. I now race a 360. I've raced alongside with Kevin the past two years. …
"Tony and Kevin were battling. … I believe they got together on the frontstretch, Kevin hit the wall and his tire went down. So he spun between (turns) 1 and 2. He got out of the car after the caution was thrown and began to walk down the track, pointing right at the 14, throwing his hands all around. The last thing I seen Kevin do was put his finger to his helmet."
Graves said he saw Ward caught up under the tire and then launched a few yards down the track. Ward hit the ground and didn't move, according to Graves.
Barbara Manning, a nursing supervisor at Thompson Health, said Ward's mother and two sisters went to the hospital after the incident.
"I know that the racing community is a very close family," Manning said. "This is an unfortunate tragedy, but they will pull together. They love the sport and know the risks involved. He was so young and had a very big career ahead of him."
According to Ward's website, he started driving sprint cars in 2010 when he notched five top-five finishes. In 2012, he was named Empire Super Sprint rookie of the year. This season was his fifth racing the Empire Super Sprints.
Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion who suffered a compound fracture of his right leg in a sprint car accident a year ago, had just returned to the hobby he says helps fuel his success in NASCAR.
In July of last year, Stewart also was involved in an incident at the Canandaigua track. He sparked a multi-car wreck that sent two drivers to the hospital with injuries.
After Saturday night's incident, racing was canceled for the rest of the night, according to the track's Facebook page.
In a later post, the track said: "Canandaigua Motorspots Park will not have an official statement on the accident that happened in the ESS race until tomorrow. Please pray for the entire racing community of fans, drivers, and families. Please be respectful in any comments."
Video (WARNING: GRAPHIC)
There are conflicting reports as to whether or not Stewart may have intentionally veered towards Ward in an effort to intimidate him and tragically came too close but one thing is certain: Ward should NOT have exited his car until after the safety crews arrived. Whether or not any charges will be filed against Stewart remains to be seen, but it is my opinion that in the wake of this tragic incident, all auto racing sanctioning bodies should immediately implement severe penalties (fines and/or suspensions) towards any driver who exits his or her vehicle after a crash before the safety crews arrive. The ONLY exception to this rule would be if the driver had to leave their vehicle because it was on fire.
Subject: Re: Tony Stewart hits, kills driver in sprint car race
Written By: loki 13 on 08/10/14 at 6:51 pm
He shouldn't have left his car. We know that, but from 1/2 mile dirt tracks to 2 1/2 mile super speedways, guys who
feel they have been wronged jump out of their cars to point a finger or throw a helmet at those they feel wronged
them. I am not a Tony Stewart hater but I do feel he has always been a bully on the track. I don't think he meant
to hit the the guy but I do believe he tried to intimidate him. Now because two hot heads got together, two family's
lives are forever changed. Sad day for racing.
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