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CNN, Sports Illustrated

More Troubling Questions for NASCAR With Superstar Tony Stewart’s Car Hitting and Killing a 20-Year-Old Driver

Aug 11, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Superstar “NASCAR driver Tony Stewart hit and killed another driver who was walking on a track during a dirt-track race in upstate New York, authorities said early Sunday,” CNN reports.

The story reports: “Kevin Ward Jr., 20, died from injuries suffered in the incident, which occurred Saturday night at the Empire Super Sprints series event at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park.” Stewart, one of the sport’s biggest stars, is a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and owns a multi-car team competing at the sport’s highest level.

Here is video of the incident. Warning: It is graphic and an obscenity is heard:

Writes Mike Harris in a commentary for Sports Illustrated: “Seeing a young man climb out of his car, knowing he was in the final minutes of his life, is disturbing. Seeing him tossed like a rag doll after the contact is nauseating.”

Harris adds, “Before anyone gets too carried away, let’s be clear there’s no way anyone should be thinking Stewart had it in mind to kill Ward or even injure him. No way, no how.

“But given his history and the way he has reacted to situations throughout his career, it is not at all unreasonable to wonder if he wasn’t thinking of scaring or intimidating Ward.”

Then Harris writes, “Bob Pockrass, the veteran and respected motorsports writer for The Sporting News, located a witness in the stands several hours before the video surfaced. The witness, a driver named Tyler Graves, described the scene as it unfolded in a way the video corroborated. Graves noted that when you hit the throttle in a sprint car, it ‘sets sideways.’

“Now listen to the video of the incident. Right before contact, an engine guns. Stewart’s? No way to be sure, but as Graves noted and the video shows, the car ‘set sideways’ and hit Ward.

“Graves doesn’t buy the notion that Stewart couldn’t see Ward. Despite the shaky quality of the lighting and the dark firesuit Ward was wearing, he’s clearly visible in the video and several cars went by him without incident.

“Why would you punch the throttle under caution? So many questions, so many answers that likely will never come.”

To read Harris’ full commentary, please click on the link to his Sports Illustrated piece above.

Even before this incident involving one of the true superstars of the sport, both TV ratings for NASCAR and attendance at NASCAR events have continued to drop this year.

4 Comments

  1. NO WAY TO AVOID SOME ONE WHO GOT OUT OF HIS CAR CREATING A DANGEROUS SITUATION. OTHER DRIVERS ARE HARDLY WATCHING FOR A PERSON STANDING ON THE TRACK ATTEMPTING TO FIGHT.

  2. I am truly sorry that Kevin Ward Jr. lost his life in such a tragic way but I have to lay most of the blame at his feet. If he hadn’t gotten out of his car and stood in the middle of an active race track, he would not have placed himself in such danger.

  3. I agree with Newshawk. if he wanted to get out of the car he could of stepped over the jersey barrier he was stopped by. he would not have had any problems. i could not believe it when i seen him head to the middle of a busy high speed track. What an idiot. or suicidal. totally his fault.

  4. Are you people watching the same video?
    While Ward Jr should not have exited his car, several drive by him, clearly seeing him. And seeing Stewart’s car drift to the right, it’s obvious that his was the car throttled. Do I believe Tony Stewart intended to hit Ward Jr? No, but I do believe his intent was to intimidate.

    A tragedy indeed…stupid and avoidable. Totally Ward’s fault? No. And if you really believe this to be “suicidal”, you’re a moron!

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