UPDATE: NASCAR’S Tony Stewart Hits and Kills Driver in Canandaigua Motorsports Park Race
UPDATE: Tony Stewart will not be behind the wheel of his Stewart- Haas NASCAR Sprint Cup car for the Cheez It 355 at Watkins Glen today. A very shaken Greg Zipadelli, team manager and competition director for Stewart -Haas, made the announcement at 10:20 this morning. Regan Smith will drive in place of Stewart in the number 14 car.
According to multiple sources, including CNN, NASCAR driver Tony Stewart hit and killed a fellow driver during a race in Canadagua, NY on Saturday night.
The incident happened at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park where Tony was racing against Kevin Ward Jr. Video of the incident makes it appear the two cars made contact, leaving Ward’s car pushed into the wall with a flat tire.
Caution was thrown; Ward exited his car and then started walking down the track making angry gestures at Stewart. This is when he was hit and subsequently died of his injuries.
Tyler Graves, a sprint-car racer and friend of Ward’s, told Sporting News: “I know Tony could see him. I know how you can see out of these cars. When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle. When you hit a throttle on a sprint car, the car sets sideways. It set sideways, the right rear tire hit Kevin, Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under it for a second or two and then it threw him about 50 yards.”
Police say Ward was dead on arrival at the hospital and that their investigation continues. They’ve asked anyone who was at the race and might have video to submit it to them for review.
Although the accident wasn’t a NASCAR event, there’s no doubt questions will be raised about on-track safety because a lot of drivers, including Stewart, have been known to leave their cars in the middle of a race to confront other drivers.
Stewart will race as scheduled at Watkins Glen today, starting in the 13th position. “We’re business as usual today,” Greg Zipadelli, Stewart-Haas Racing competition director, told USA TODAY Sports. CNN also confirms that Stewart will race today, but mentions he will hold a press conference at 1pm eastern before he races.