Although Tony Stewart has not been charged in the death of fellow racer Kevin Ward Jr. following a confrontation between the two during a dirt- race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in NY on August 9th, he has not been “officially” cleared as the investigation of the incident continues. According to eye-witnesses, Stewart hit Ward’s car, sending it spinning into the wall on lap14 of the 25-lap race in the Empire Super Sprint Series. Although he was not hurt, Ward was furious and walked out onto the track to confront him, when he was clipped by the rear end of Stewart’s No. 14 Chevy and sent flying into the air. He was pronounced dead from massive blunt force trauma 45 minutes later. The main question is whether Stewart intentionally hit him or did so by an accident when he attempted to drive past him.
The investigation is expected to continue for several more weeks, and it was noted that there is no legal limitation to how long it can go on. The statute of limitations for any criminal negligence charges would not become valid until 5 years have passed.
Stewart has missed the last three Sprint Cup races, but will announced he will run in this Sunday’s Oral B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He currently remains 26th in the championship standings with 537 points, and could possibly still be eligible for the Chase for the Cup if NASCAR decides to grant him a waiver due to the special circumstances surrounding his absence. According to a spokesman from NASCAR, "Stewart has received all necessary clearances required to return to all racing activities.”
The current top 5 drivers in the Sprint Cup Series are Jeff Gordon (845 points), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (818 points), Brad Keselowski (776 points), Joey Logano (761 points) and Matt Kenseth (751 points).