Tony Stewart Pulls Out of NASCAR Race Hours After Fatally Hitting Kevin Ward Jr.
Tony Stewart has pulled out of Sunday’s scheduled NASCAR race hours after he struck and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward, Jr.
As Gossip Cop reported, the tragic incident occurred at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York on Saturday night, after Stewart’s car wedged and spun Ward’s vehicle up against an outside wall during the 14th lap of a 25-lap sprint race.
Ward emerged unscathed and took to the center of the raceway to yell at Stewart as he came back around the track.
Stewart ended up hitting Ward as he sped by, fatally injuring him.
A team director for Stewart, a 3-time NASCAR champion, now says he will not race at Watkins Glen International as planned, despite originally saying it would be “business as usual.”
NASCAR also confirms Stewart will not be participating in today’s Sprint Cup Series event.
The crash is still under investigation, though police are reportedly not treating it as a homicide.
“This is right now being investigated as an on-track crash and I don’t want to infer that there are criminal charges pending,” said Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero at a press conference.
The official went on, “When the investigation is completed, we will sit down with the district attorney and review it. But I want to make it very clear: there are no criminal charges pending at this time.”
A spokesperson for Stewart, who is cooperating with authorities, says in a statement, “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.”
Stewart was previously involved in another incident that left a 19-year-old seriously injured on the very same track in July 2013, and he later took responsibility for the 15-car accident.