Drivers think variable factors caused fatal Tony Stewart wreck

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- There future is uncertain for NASCAR driver Tony Stewart after he hit and killed another driver who was walking on a track during a dirt-track race in upstate New York, authorities said early Sunday.

Kevin Ward Jr., 20, died from injuries suffered in the incident, which occurred Saturday night at the Empire Super Sprints series event at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

Roy Hendrick grew up on the track with his father, Ray, whose winning racing career is showcased throughout the family's Chesterfield auto shop.

"I've been racing all my life seen my father race all his life. I've seen fights but nobody wants to hurt anybody," Roy Hendrick, said.

That includes Tony Stewart, Hendrick said. "Tony will keep in it but he's gonna have a heavy heart for a long time."

Hendrick, like the rest of the country, watched in horror as Stewart struck and killed fellow Sprint race competitor Kevin Ward Jr in upstate New York Saturday.

Ward upset about a lap he spun out on so he got out of his car to confront Stewart.

"I've done it myself and it's foolish," said Hendrick, who explained that drivers can get caught up in the heat of the moment.

"It's really dangerous for these guys or any drivers to get out of their car before all the cars have stopped . Tony evidentially didn't see him cause there is no way in the world somebody would run over somebody on purpose," Hendrick said.

"The stuff that happens in our sport there's no way to mimic it for you at home so the factors that went into this are too many to name and it's just terrible no matter what way you look at it." racecar driver Brendan Gaughn said.

And now the racing community from the dirt track to NASCAR will be looking at ways to learn from this tragedy.

"Every time something like this happens in our sport we learn from it and we become a better sport for it so safety is our number one priority," Richmond International Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier said.

Richmond International Raceway hosts the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sept. 5. There has been no word yet if the number 14 car will be driven by Tony Stewart.


  • Robbie

    Here’s one thing for sure. Smoke didn’t give the kid an inch. His car never moved until it swerved hard right as the kid was going under the tires. Smoke probably was cussing him and flipped him the bird because that’s what he does. The media can say “black helmet, suit on a dimly lit track” all they want but the kid well in front of Smoke had no trouble seeing him. Finally Tony Stewart’s nickname of Smoke along with his prior antic’s will cost the slob millions of dollars. I just wish he’d lose a few years of his life in jail. Not going to happen sadly.

  • John

    The car in front of Tony Stewart barely missed hitting the guy. Tony was following the tire tracks of that car, which is normal. It is reasonable to suspect that no person should walk into the path of the cars. Drivers are used to other drivers having temper tantrums as they drive by, but I have never seen one of them get hit.
    It is not unlikely that Tony was thinking that he would drive near to the guy. I highly doubt he had any intention of hitting him. The only piece of evidence we haven’t heard is Tony’s spotter on the radio telling him that the guy was running into the track, and to watch out. We haven’t heard any of his radio chatter during this episode.

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