CNN is reporting early Sunday morning, August 10, that NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart may have been involved in an incident on a dirt track in upstate New York Saturday night that resulted in the end of a fellow driver's life.
According to CNN, Stewart was competing in the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park when a fellow driver struck a wall on lap 14 of a 25-lap race. The driver of that car exited his vehicle, according to Philip C. Povero of the Ontario County Sheriff's Department, and started walking on the track when he was allegedly struck by Stewart.
The driver was taken to the Thompson Health hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to "USA Today." Two witnesses at the track, Tyler Graves and Adam Dulski, named the victim as Kevin Ward, Jr., according to that publication.
"Stewart has fully cooperated with investigation," Povero said. "He acknowledges the collision with the driver."
The news rocked the NASCAR world in the early morning hours Sunday just ahead of the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen where Stewart was scheduled to compete. Canandaigua is about 60 miles northwest of Watkins Glen at the top of Canandaigua Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of the state. An investigation into the incident is underway.
Stewart's representative, Mike Arning, released a statement, according to "USA Today": 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."
According to "USA Today," Ward was pointing at Stewart's car when he was walking down the track, "showing his displeasure" at a move made by Stewart during the race. Reports from witnesses, according to "USA Today" said that Stewart's car struck the man.
For NASCAR's Sprint Cup series, Stewart, who co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing, drives the No. 14 Pro Bass Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet. Stewart is known to keep racing in other competitions outside of NASCAR. In 2013, he broke his leg in a sprint car crash that required his absence from the Glen race that year. This year, he is scheduled to start outside the top 10 in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International.