Stewart undecided on Michigan
Grieving driver already skipped Watkins Glen
Tony Stewart has not yet decided if he will drive in this weekend’s NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway, a team spokesman said Monday.
Stewart pulled out of Sunday’s NASCAR race in Watkins Glen, N.Y., after his car struck and killed a 20-year-old driver, Kevin Ward Jr., while Ward was on foot on the track during a sprint-car race Saturday night in upstate New York.
After contact with Stewart’s car caused Ward’s car to crash, Ward climbed from his car and was standing on the track and gesturing toward Stewart when Stewart’s car hit him.
Stewart, who co-owns his NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing, “will have as much time as he needs to make that decision” about racing Sunday in Michigan, Stewart-Haas spokesman Mike Arning said in an email.
“It is still an emotional time for all involved, Tony included,” Arning said. “He is grieving, and grief doesn’t have a timetable.”
NASCAR stock cars are 3,400-pound, full-bodied cars that bear a slight resemblance to everyday passenger cars. Sprint cars are light but powerful open-wheel cars – some of which have large wings on top-that often are raced on small dirt tracks.
Arning confirmed that Stewart, 43, had pulled out of a scheduled sprint-car race at Plymouth Speedway, a dirt track in Plymouth, Indiana, scheduled for Saturday night and that Stewart wouldn’t resume that type of racing “until further notice.”
Another driver in the race, Cory Sparks, a friend of Ward’s, told The Associated Press he was a few yards back when Ward was struck.
“The timing was unsafe,” Sparks said of Ward’s decision to get out of his car to confront Stewart. “When your adrenaline is going and you’re taken out of a race, your emotions flare.”
Kevin Ward Jr. died of blunt force trauma when he was hit by a car driven by NASCAR star Tony Stewart.
Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said the autopsy was completed Monday. The 20-year-old driver was competing in a dirt-track race in upstate New York.
Authorities questioned Stewart on Saturday night and went to Watkins Glen to talk to him again Sunday. Povero said Monday there were no plans “at this time” to talk to him again.
There is no timetable to complete the investigation.
Povero said there is nothing in the inquiry that supports criminal conduct or probable cause. He said there was no camera in Stewart’s car.