Driver Killed in Dirt Track Accident Involving Tony Stewart

From CBS News:

CANANDAIGUA, New York - Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart struck and killed a sprint car driver who had climbed from his car and was on the darkened dirt track trying to confront Stewart during a race in upstate New York on Saturday night.

Kevin Ward Jr. had crashed following contact with Stewart one lap earlier and got out of his car as it was stopped along the fence. Video of the incident showed Ward walking from his crashed car onto the racing surface as cars circled by, and, as he gestured at Stewart's passing car, he was struck.

There is much debate as to whether Stewart deliberately accelerated to hit Ward, or if he was trying to gain traction to avoid hitting him.

This is video of the incident. It claims to be quite graphic, so be warned. I haven't yet watched it as, unless it's a terrorist or a criminal, I have no desire to see someone die.

Posted by: DMartyr at 11:52 AM


1 Looks like Ward punched his own ticket to a Darwin Award.

Posted by: Stephana at August 10, 2014 03:56 PM

2 I have no idea whether the hit was intentional. Ward certainly contributed to his own demise.

Posted by: Valerie at August 10, 2014 04:20 PM

3 Dark racing suit, darkened track. Probably muddy goggles contributed to this mishap. The driver should have stayed near his disabled car and argued later on, after the race.


Posted by: dc at August 10, 2014 04:44 PM

That little bump and spinis a common occurence at a sprint car race, it's really not a big deal, it's simply part of the game. The combination of open wheels, and a "slick" dirt track makes for all sorts of mishaps.

The safest place for Ward, was in his car, and that's where he should have stayed until things were slowed down and/or stopped.It's tragic, but that young man caused his own death.

Posted by: RBanks at August 10, 2014 05:27 PM

5 Have a tiny bit of experience from wild and crazy youth.
Dark corner, dark suit, mud/dirt/dust equals poor vision. Another car just in front clears and I see something loom up in front or the side of me that does NOT look like another car and I swerve away from it. Even at slow speeds the rear will move out towards whatever is there.
Tragic. Ward walked into it.

Posted by: Kafiroon at August 10, 2014 09:42 PM

6 Agree with Kafiroon

Stewart probably didn't even see the guy until it was too late to do anything about it. A pity for the fellow to die so young. May his family have comfort.

Posted by: Jedi Master Ivyan at August 10, 2014 09:49 PM

7 Oh wow. I am not a race car driver, but I would think it would be race car driver 101 that you don't go trundling around a race track on foot. This was unfortunate, and I hate to say it, but I this guy got pissed, lost his head, and engaged in some very risky behavior that resulted in the end of his life. It's a tragedy.

Posted by: Mistress Overdone at August 10, 2014 10:58 PM

8 Those sprint cars have a wire grill on their windshields, a headrest that blocks the entire right side of the seat, a wing that droops down almost to the edge of the door level.
The right rear tire is wider and larger than the other tires.
The engine is either a 360 CuI or 410 CuI hitting 900 to 1100 Horse power and it has no transmission, clutch or flywheel it's known as a direct drive, the DD can be turned off by the driver but since the car has no starter or battery if it goes dead it must be pushed off.
The steering is powered or the driver could not steer it, the steering gear only connects to the left side. The power steering unit is hydraulic when the engine slows down the input power drops off until steering becomes impossible, to steer the driver must gun the engine to raise output which also means the car will spin forward. These cars are open wheel design with all the inherent dangers, they are not meant to be operated around pedestrians and walking on the track is forbidden.
So, in typical racing fashion Stewart bumped Ward into the wall, Ward became enraged and exited his car (1st big mistake) and then walked into the racing stream of cars towards the center of the track (his 2d big mistake) Stewart came around on caution trying to keep his DD car slow enough without stalling, dirt and mud on his windshield blocked by 1/8 inch expanded metal screen unable to look directly right and never expecting anyone to be stupid enough to enter the racing stream has Ward bloom into view (or jump on the hood of the car) and in turning away, slides his wide rear tire and takes down Young Ward.
These cars are very powerful and top heavy with lots of sway and power slides.
Stewart seeing Ward approaching him in a rage, in defense or an aggressive rage, ran him down.
Your choice.
Murder, accident or Guano Occurs.

Posted by: obsidian at August 11, 2014 01:59 PM

9 The top speed these cars can reach is around 140 MPH.

Posted by: obsidian at August 11, 2014 02:23 PM

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