Despite the fact that Kevin Ward Jr. was killed after driver Tony Stewart struck him with his vehicle late Saturday night during a race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Stewart still planned to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen on Sunday. However, he wisely decided this morning that taking part in the race is not the right thing to do.
There is no denying that Stewart is distraught after the incident. With that being said, the ongoing police investigation involving the Ontario County Sherriff Office is not criminal. That means despite the severity of the situation, there is no reason to believe Stewart did what he did on purpose. In fact, he was cooperative when questioned by police.
As of right now, the incident was nothing more than a tragic accident involving two drivers. For that reason, Stewart had no plans to initially sit out of Sunday’s race. Instead, Stewart-Haas racing has decided to replace Stewart with driver Regan Smith.
In the graphic video of the race, Ward can be seen exiting his vehicle and walking along the dirt track in order to confront Stewart, who was still driving. The car in front of Stewart nearly misses Ward, but unfortunately, Stewart was unable to steer away. At first glance, it appears that there was intention behind Stewart’s actions simply because his car can be heard accelerating around the corner. However, a closer look reveals there is no way he could have been able to avoid missing Ward.
The reason Ward was out of his car in the first place and gesturing angrily in the direction of Stewart was because Stewart reportedly had a part in a wreck that Ward was involved in. Even though Ward was furious with Stewart, leaving his car during the middle of a race is a terrible idea, especially on a track that was not lit very well in the area that he was in.
Stewart made the right call in backing out of today’s race. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates as this story develops.