Police Investigating Track Incident Involving Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr.

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2014

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Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 16

NASCAR Illustrated provides an update on Tony Stewart's case, via Facebook:

Jenna Fryer of The Associated Press passes along comments from Stewart:

Fryer also provides NASCAR's statement:

Nate Ryan of USA Today reports on Stewart's status for this weekend:


Updates from Thursday, Sept. 11

Tom Jensen of FoxSports.com reported on the investigation into the incident:


Updates from Friday, Aug. 29

USA Today's Jeff Gluck has an update from the Ontario County Sheriff's Department:



Updates from Thursday, Aug. 28

Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press reported on Tony Stewart's return to the track:




Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 20

Tony Stewart has made a decision on his status for this weekend's race at Bristol, according to Jeff Gluck of USA Today:



Updates from Friday, Aug. 15

Dustin Long of the Motor Racing Network reports the decision not to race this weekend was Tony Stewart's. His involvement in the Saturday night accident at Canandaigua (New York) Motorsports Park resulted in the death of fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr.


Tom Jensen of Fox Sports provided thoughts from Brett Frood of Stewart-Haas Racing:


Nate Ryan of USA Today adds more:


Alan Cavanna of NASCAR.com provided comments from Stewart's replacement driver, Jeff Burton:


ESPN's Marty Smith noted that Jimmie Johnson has tried to contact Stewart:


Updates from Thursday, Aug. 14

ESPN's Marty Smith has an update on Stewart's racing status:



Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 13

Charley Hannagan of Syracuse.com provides comments from Kevin Ward Sr., who spoke about Tony Stewart:

Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn't see him. ...

... Tony Stewart was the best damn driver by far on the track that night. Why he had to go up as high as he did and hog my son, there's no reason for it. ...

... The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?


Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 12

Amy Young of WROC-TV provides an update from Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero's press conference:


NBC News' Erin McClam provides details from driver Paul Kinney, who was racing the night of the accident:

That’s obviously not a racing incident. It’s not a good idea to get out of your car and run towards other cars. But nobody can speak for Tony. Only Tony knows exactly what happened. ... I seen Kevin clear as day. Nobody else ran into him, either.


Updates from Monday, Aug. 11 

Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero spoke about the possibility of criminal behavior leading to Kevin Ward Jr.'s death (via Fox Sports NASCAR):


Earlier, Tony Stewart announced he had pulled out of a dirt track race this upcoming weekend at Plymouth Speedway after tragically striking and killing fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr.

Plymouth Speedway released a statement Sunday night on Twitter announcing the news: 


There is still no decision on whether Stewart will race at Michigan this weekend (via Jay Pennell of Fox Sports):

"The decision to compete in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan will be Tony's, and he will have as much time as he needs to make that decision," Stewart-Haas Racing spokesman Mike Arning said in a email. "It is still an emotional time for all involved, Tony included. He is grieving, and grief doesn't have a timetable."

Jeremie Corcoran, Canandaigua Motorsports Park's promoter, also released a statement on the park's Facebook page that reads in part:

I am extremely devastated from the tragic incident that occurred at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night as I know are many, many, others. 

First and foremost I offer my sincerest and deepest condolences to the Ward family. Kevin Ward Jr was a spirited competitor and loved by so many. This is a tremendous loss to this family and the racing family as well. I have spoken to the family and they spent prayer time at the track Sunday in the early morning hours. Godspeed #13!

To all the fans that witnessed this incident I have you in my thoughts. This has been difficult to process and it surely is not what you come to the races for. I do ask that you hold on to your integrity and have compassion for everyone that was involved in this. I understand that we all can have opinions and have the right to express them, I just ask that you think about all the lives that have been affected over this before you speak out. So many people are affected. So many are hurting. No one deserves more pain or blame. We need unity to support all that are hurting and the sport of racing we care so much about. That is the only way for us to heal and move forward. 

CNN New Day provides a video of Ontario County Sheriff Philip C. Povero discussing the incident:



Updates from Sunday, Aug. 10

Stewart pulled out of Sunday's Sprint Cup Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen.

NASCAR provided a statement from Stewart discussing the incident:


Cindy Boren of The Washington Post previously provided a statement from Greg Zipadelli, the racing competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, discussing Stewart's decision not to participate in Sunday's race:

It’s just an unbelievable tragedy. Our hearts go out to, obviously, Kevin and his family — thoughts and prayers. This is a very tough, very emotional time for everybody — his family, our family at Stewart-Haas, Tony Stewart. With that being said, we feel that as a group Tony will not drive today.

We talked last night and realizing going through the night — [we] gave Tony some time to sleep on it and I met with him this morning. He feels strongly that this is the right thing to do. We at HSR support it and agree with it. Like I said, it’s a difficult time, for both parties. There’s not a lot you can do. All you do is what you feel is right. This is what we feel is right and we’re supporting Tony in it.

NASCAR released a statement on Ward Jr. in addition to announcing Stewart's replacement:



The Ontario County Sheriff's Office previously released a statement confirming the death of the driver struck by Stewart's car following an accident at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night:

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.

Jeff Gluck of USA Today also provided a statement from Tony Stewart's spokesman:

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.

Prescott Rossi of WROC-TV in Rochester, New York, and Jim Utter of The Charlotte Observer previously offered more details on the accident:




Original Text

Members of the Ontario County Sheriff's Office in New York are reportedly investigating an accident that occurred at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night, which involved Tony Stewart, per Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer.

The track posted this on its Facebook page: "Tonight's racing events were suspended due to an accident. Please hold off on any speculation until we have further information to share."

Tyler Burnett of the Motor Racing Network was one of the first to report on the accident. A source told him Stewart ran into Kevin Ward Jr. after the two had a disagreement:


According to Burnett, Ward was airlifted out of the area:


Fox Sports' Bob Dillner spoke to an eyewitness who was at the track and elaborated a bit more on what happened. According to the eyewitness, Stewart and Ward made contact on the track. Ward exited his vehicle to speak with Stewart and was subsequently struck:


Another eyewitness who spoke with Adam Longo of CBS 5 in Phoenix attempted to connect the dots about the events surrounding the accident:


A source who spoke with Longo didn't believe Stewart hit Ward intentionally:


Alex Hayden of the Motor Racing Network reported law enforcement had the scene cordoned off and were telling spectators to exit the track:


No further details have been released at this time.


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