NASCAR Star Tony Stewart Runs Over, Kills Driver Who Was Trying to Confront Him

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 10 2014 11:13 AM

NASCAR Star Tony Stewart Runs Over, Kills Driver Who Was Trying to Confront Him

453351498-tony-stewart-driver-of-the-rush-truck-centers-mobil-1
Tony Stewart will not race Sunday

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart ran over and killed 20-year-old sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a race Saturday night. The deadly string of incidents began when Ward and Stewart were racing side-by-side at a sprint car race in Canandaigua Motorsports Park, located some 30 miles southeast of Rochester, New York. When they were exiting a turn, “the rear tire of Stewart's car appeared to clip the front tire of Ward's car, and Ward spun into the fence,” reports the Associated Press. As can be seen in the (warning: very disturbing) video, Ward got out of his car and appears to be quite angry. He seems to want to confront Stewart on foot and walks straight into the racing area wearing a black firesuit and black helmet.* One car swerved to avoid him, before Stewart hit him and sent Ward flying down the track. Ward was taken to the hospital by ambulance but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Hours after initially saying it would be “business as usual” on Sunday, his team later changed its mind, announcing that the NASCAR champion would not be racing at Watkins Glen International. "It's an emotional time right now," Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing, said. Zipadelli says he met with Stewart Sunday morning and “he feels strongly this is the right thing to do,”  reports USA Today.

Advertisement

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said that “this is right now being investigated as an on-track crash and I don't want to infer that there are criminal charges pending.” He added that despite being “visibly shaken” Stewart had cooperated with the investigation.

A Stewart spokesman issued a statement early Sunday morning:

"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."

Correction, Aug. 10, 2014: A portion of this post originally said Stewart was the one who got out of the car to confront Ward when it was the other way around

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 11:51 AM It Seems No One Is Rich or Happy: I Looked
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.