NASCAR driver Tony Stewart’s Sprint Car hit and killed fellow race car driver Kevin Ward Jr. at the Empire Super Sprints in Canandaigua, New York Saturday night. Stewart, driving car number 14, squeezed Ward, in car number 13, into the frontstretch wall. Ward’s right rear tire went flat, and he spun on the exit of Turn 2. The yellow caution flag was thrown to slow down the race. Ward got out of his car and was gesturing angrily at Stewart as he came by during the next lap. As Ward stood on the track, Stewart approached him and hit the throttle, which spun the car sideways. The right rear tire hit Ward and sucked him underneath the car before throwing him about 50 yards.
Emergency crews arrived immediately to tend to Ward. He was taken by ambulance to Thompson Health and was pronounced dead on arrival. The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department was investigating the scene in the early hours of Sunday morning. Tony Stewart is being fully cooperative, and the incident is not being investigated as a criminal matter.
Mike Arning, a spokesman for NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing (which Stewart co-owns), issued the following statement:
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“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.”