An incident between driver Kevin Ward Jr. and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series three-time champion Tony Stewart on Saturday night during a Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York has left 20-year-old Ward dead.
“A tragic accident took place last night during a sprint car race in which Tony Stewart was participating,” public relations representative Mike Arning said. “Tony was unhurt, but a fellow-competitor lost his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
Ward’s car hit the wall on lap 14 of the 25-lap race. During a caution Ward got out of his car and walked toward to moving cars, according to reports. He gestured and yelled as cars went by. While one car swerved to miss him, Stewart was unable to miss Ward completely and the right rear tire on Stewart’s car struck Ward.
Ward was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, but was dead before arrival.
“Stewart has fully cooperated (with the ongoing investigation),” Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip C. Povero said. “He acknowledges the collision with the driver.”
Stewart is in the upstate New York area this weekend for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International, a road course about an hour-and-a-half to two hours from the Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Stewart will still race at Watkins Glen on Sunday.
*UPDATE: Stewart has since decided to NOT run the Watkins Glen race. Regan Smith will fill-in behind the wheel of the No. 14.
– Photo courtesy of KevinWardRacing.com