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Tony Stewart hits, kills driver in sprint car race

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#1 +Frank B.

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:03

Tony Stewart hits, kills driver in sprint car race

 

A 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, driver Kevin Ward Jr. 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.

 

Stewart's public relations team and NASCAR did not respond to USA TODAY Sports' requests for comment.

 

"This is an ongoing investigation of an on-track crash," Povero said.

 

He indicated Stewart, 43, was cooperative and there were no charges pending at this time. According to the Associated Press, Povero indicated the incident is not being investigated as a criminal matter.

 

An Ontario County Sheriff's Department spokesperson 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.

 

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.

 

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 is 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. He was scheduled to compete Sunday in a Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen.

 

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."

 

Source: USA Today

 

Video of the incident: Deadspin (warning, graphic content)




#2 Michael Scrip

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:10

Youtube video of the crash:

 

https://www.youtube....QJdBd0437U#t=27

 

Unless they pull it.



#3 elenarie

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:22

Surely that is murder with intent, or whatever you guys call it.



#4 OP +Frank B.

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:24

It certainly does look like Stewart hit the throttle and aimed at Kevin Ward on purpose. 

 

That being said, Kevin Ward should have stayed in the car instead of walking onto the racing line.



#5 Darrian

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:24

Well, it's sad that this happened, but what kind of effing moron gets out of their car and then starts walking into the track like that? Wow.



#6 Raze

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:39

Surely that is murder with intent, or whatever you guys call it.

 

We do not call it anything, until an investigation has been done. Law enforcement officials will conduct an in depth investigation and then a decision based on the facts will determine whether charges are filed against Stewart.

Certainly a tragic incident, the young man made a serious error by leaving his vehicle and it appears that Stewart may have been going too fast under the caution.  Very sad for everyone involved.



#7 LaP

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 15:31

Surely that is murder with intent, or whatever you guys call it.

 

I don't think so.

 

But reading another article they talk about 20 years old and even 16 years old guys involved in the race. I'm not familiar with north american racing series but if true then WTH does a mid 40 guy doing racing with teens?



#8 tsupersonic

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 15:44

Crazy. What was Ward thinking of walking on the track with fast cars?! Should've stayed in the car - would've been the safest bet. 

 

I thought about going to WGI to watch Nascar (not that I enjoy Nascar or the culture, but thought it would be interesting). This is in my neck of the woods, about 30 mins. away.



#9 notchinese

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 15:54

Sad situation, but honestly that video doesn't show anything conclusive one way or the other. People jumping to strong conclusions probably just WANT their opinion to be correct.



#10 Ryoken

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 16:00

It's doubtful Tony even saw him.. Driving the car he'd be focused on the track, looking where he's going. It's more than likely he wouldn't notice a guy in a black racing suit out of his peripheral vision when all he's normally looking for is cars.

 

I'd add, if any of you have ever raced a car on a dirt track, you'd know how twitchy they are.. If he did see him, and was trying to avoid, then that could have caused/contributed to the impact itself.

 

Also, the guy is an idiot. You don't get out of your car, on a dirt track, at night, wearing a Black racing suit, and go near cars still driving around.. Heat of the moment and all, ya, I get it, I feel for his family, but this is a case of natural selection if ever there was one..



#11 Dot Matrix

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 16:01

So this is what all the kerfluffle was last night with EMS? I was at a friends apartment in Canandaigua last night, when it happened. Wow. sad to see.



#12 +warwagon

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 16:14

Well, it's sad that this happened, but what kind of effing moron gets out of their car and then starts walking into the track like that? Wow.

 

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#13 Ryoken

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 16:33

I feel it's also important for people to know that unlike a NASCAR, or F1, or other major motor sports race, there's no spotter out there in Tony's ear saying XYZ Wrecked, he's out of the car and on the track in Turn #.. 

 

I mean Even when people have done stuff like this in NASCAR, of which Tony is one of them, there have been close calls.. And that's with a spotter, daylight etc.

 

 

I can't speak to the US racing culture, but in several low to mid end racing leagues, the rules are you keep your ass in the car unless it's on fire.. Unbuckle yourself, net down, wait for Emergency Services to get there. I think people see this in NASCAR, getting out and throwing your helmet at the drive and such, and don't understand just how dangerous it is, and that's with far FAR more safety equipment than at your local track.



#14 shozilla

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 16:59

I don't think so.

 

But reading another article they talk about 20 years old and even 16 years old guys involved in the race. I'm not familiar with north american racing series but if true then WTH does a mid 40 guy doing racing with teens?

 

Same to NASCAR ...   Age from 18 to around 60.... You can see their faces here: http://www.nascar.co.../drivers.html  

 

I think Mark Martin is the oldest who is still in the Sprint Cup race.



#15 fusi0n

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 17:10

he derped instead of derp derped