VIDEO: Driver Hit By Tony Stewart Dies
Canandaigua, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck and killed a fellow competitor who was walking on the dirt track during a caution in a sprint car race on Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
The Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff’s Department confirmed on Sunday morning that the driver struck was transported to F.F. Thompson Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 11:15 p.m. ET (Saturday). Track officials have identified the driver as 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. of Port Leyden, N.Y.
WARNING: VIDEO BELOW MAY BE UNSETTLING TO SOME VIEWERS.
According to a release from the sheriff’s department, the incident occurred at the exit of turn 2 just past the halfway point in the 25-lap Lucas Oil Super Sprint Feature race. Stewart and Ward made contact while battling for position, with Ward spinning out and hitting the wall. The race went under caution.
A video of the incident showed Ward climbing out of his car and then walking down the dirt track. He was pointing his finger in the direction of Stewart and apparently yelling at him to express his displeasure.
Stewart’s car and the vehicle of another competitor traveling in tandem approached Ward. The first car swerved to avoid hitting him, but Stewart’s vehicle struck Ward and dragged him briefly on the track before he came to rest. Track medical staff immediately attended to him before he was transported to the hospital.
The remainder of the race was canceled.
The sheriff’s department said Stewart has cooperated with the investigation, which is ongoing. Sheriff Philip Povero noted during a press conference that Stewart “was visibly shaken by this incident and has promised his continuing cooperation in this investigation.”
No charges were pending against Stewart at this time.
Stewart is scheduled to compete in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International, which is roughly 50 miles southwest of Canandaigua. The three-time series champion qualified 13th for the 90-lap race at Watkins Glen on Saturday.
Stewart-Haas Racing, which is co-owned by Stewart, released a statement on the incident.
“A tragic accident took place last night during a sprint car race in which Tony Stewart was participating,” the statement said. “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.”
The fatal accident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park comes one year after Stewart broke his right tibia and fibula during a wreck in a sprint car race in Iowa. Having three surgeries to repair his leg injury, he was sidelined for the final 15 Sprint Cup races of the 2013 season.
Last month in Michigan, Stewart competed in a sprint car race for the first time since his injury.
VIDEO OF THE ACCIDENT IS BELOW. WARNING: MAY BE MATERIAL UNSETTLING TO SOME VIEWERS.