CANANDAIGUA, N.Y.- An unfortunate and avoidable tragedy took place last night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, which resulted in the death of 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr.
A police investigation is underway and here’s the statement from the Ontario Police Sheriff’s Office:
“On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, at or about 10:30 p.m., there was an on-track incident at the Exit of Turn 2 at the Canandiagua Motorsports Park, during the Lucas Oil SuperSprint Feature race. The race was in Lap 14 of a 25-lap race, when one car lost control and spun coming to rest along the outside retaining wall. The race was immediately put into caution, slowing the cars on the track. The driver of the car that spun exited the race car and walked down the track onto the racing surface. Two race cars traveling in tandem approached as the driver continued down the track, gesturing to the two approaching cars. The first car swerved to avoid the driver out on the track. The second car, operated by Tony Stewart, struck the driver. The driver was treated by on-track medical staff and was transported to F.F. Thompson Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 11:15 p.m. At this point, Mr. Stewart has cooperated with the investigation, which is ongoing. The Sheriff’s Office has asked the individuals who possess amatuer video to please make contact with this office so that copies of the video accounts can be obtained for review. Please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 585-394-4560.”
Also, reportedly that area of the track isn’t well-lit and that Ward was wearing all black.
Fellow racer Tyler Graves witnessed what happened and said “Tony pinched him into the frontstretch wall, a racing thing. The right rear tire went down, he spun on the exit of (Turn) 2. They threw the caution, and everything was toned down. Kevin got out of his car. He was throwing his arms up all over the place at Tony for most of the corner.” He also went on reiterate that “he didn’t believe Stewart intentionally hit Ward.”
Yet, what happened was avoidable. Ward could have easily thrown his helmet at the car of Stewart as it went by instead of going on the track or better yet waited until after the race to either exchange words or punches. Attempting to settle the score while on foot, isn’t the best idea and unfortunately the young driver paid the ultimate price.
Here is what is being said on Twitter:
There are obviously many different ways to view this tragedy, but Tony Stewart should NOT be racing today…by his own choice, or NASCAR’s
— Jeremy Sickel (@JeremySickel) August 10, 2014
I do NOT believe Tony Stewart was trying to hit or hurt Kevin Ward, but a young man is dead. How can he possibly focus on a race?
— Amy Lawrence (@ALawRadio) August 10, 2014
— Will Buxton (@willbuxton) August 10, 2014
Sheriff says Tony Stewart “is very upset” and “has been fully cooperative.” Stewart hasn’t been charged but investigation is ongoing.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 10, 2014
Note: Stewart who had planned originally to race today at Watkins Glen decided against it.
Stewart also has made a statement about the tragic death of Ward.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 10, 2014