Tony Stewart sits out Watkins Glen after death of Kevin Ward Jr. in Sprint Car incident
Last night, at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Tony was involved in an on-track incident with Kevin Ward Jr., a 20 year old racing in the series. Kevin's car made contact with Tony's car, and ended up facing the wrong way on the track, up against the outside wall. Ward exited the car and moved into the main racing lane, motioning with his arms in the direction of oncoming traffic. What happens next is horrific.
Warning, the video is raw footage taken at the track by a spectator. View at your own discretion.
Tony's car appears to accelerate, although speculation has been rampant. No one wants to believe Tony was trying to hurt the other driver. Another driver acknowledges that Tony's car does accelerate, but that from his view it was the rear tire that made contact, and he believes nothing was intentional. Others speculate that Tony may have accelerated to speed by the driver standing on the track. In any case, the contact resulted in the death of Kevin Ward Jr. Truthfully, no one but Tony really knows what happened.
I am not here to judge. I've only seen the one view, and I have no right to judge. However, the cars did not seem to be slowing down to any great degree, and one only has to remember that in NASCAR, drivers are told to stay in their cars until safety crews arrive and the yellow is displayed, if they cannot get the car off the track. It appears that Ward did not attempt to move his car off the track at all, only seeming focused on getting out of the car to confront the driver he deemed responsible for his position. In the heat of the moment, people are known to make poor decisions. Kevin Ward Jr. may have made a poor decision to get out of the car, but it is tragic that that poor decision ended his life.
The authorities are investigating the incident, and as of now, no criminal charges have been filed. Regan Smith will pilot the 14 car today at Watkins Glen.
My deepest condolences are with the Ward family in the loss of their loved one.