Tony Stewart’s actions questioned by father of Kevin Ward Jr.


Kevin Ward Jr. after a victory in July. (AP Photo / Empire Super Sprints, Inc.)

The father of the driver who was struck and killed by Tony Stewart in a dirt-track race Saturday night said “there’s no reason” for the crash.

After he was bumped into the wall by Stewart as they drove on the Canandaigua, N.Y., track, Kevin Ward Jr. climbed out of his wrecked car and walked onto the track, where he was run over by Stewart.

”Tony Stewart was the best damn driver by far on the track that night,” Kevin Ward Sr. told Syracuse.com. “Why he had to go up as high as he did and hog my son, there’s no reason for it. … Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn’t see him.”

As awful as the viral video of the incident was, what Ward’s parents went through that night was worse. Both his mother and father were present at the track and, although they mercifully missed the collision that killed their 20-year-old son, Ward Sr. has a heart-breaking description of what happened after the incident. Stewart completed a lap after the cars collided and, during that time, Ward’s father jumped on an ATV and headed for the place where wrecked cars were taken, expecting to meet his son there. From Syracuse.com’s account:

Stay put, a track official told him. An ambulance went by, then someone told him Kevin had been hit.

“I knew it was pretty serious. The officials still weren’t letting us on the track,” Ward Sr. said. Then another person told him to “get out on the track and don’t let anybody stop you.”

Ward and his wife watched for 45 minutes as emergency workers performed CPR. At the hospital, they got a call from a daughter not at the track.

People on Facebook said Kevin had died, she told her mother.

Ten minutes later a doctor delivered the news. His wife, a registered nurse, suspected Kevin died at the track, he said.

An official investigation into the incident is continuing, although no criminal charges presently are pending. Officials from the Ontario County sheriff’s office intend to talk to every driver and others at the track, Ward’s father said, as well as seeking video and photos. Stewart has not spoken publicly about the incident and has canceled plans to drive in a dirt-track race Saturday. He has made no decision yet about the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday.

“The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison,” Ward’s father said. “Is he going to say what he done?”

Kevin Ward Jr. will be buried Thursday in upstate New York.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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