Stewart under investigation after fatal Sprint Car incident, will not race at Watkins Glen

(Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
(Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

Tony Stewart is currently under investigation by police regarding a fatal incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York.

Late Saturday night, Stewart was racing in a dirt track event and battling with driver Kevin Ward Jr. Ward went into the wall and crashed, bringing out a caution flag. As the remaining cars paraded around, Ward exited his car and advanced down the track to express his displeasure.

Stewart drove past the driver, and Ward was pulled underneath the Sprint Car, dragged, and then released. Track safety crews rushed onto the scene, and the event was quickly cancelled. Fans were ushered out of the track as Stewart, who had stopped on-track after the incident, went back to his rig and loaded up his machine. Police soon arrived.

The incident occurred around 10:30 p.m., and the Ontario County Sherriff didn’t make a statement until 3:00 a.m., informing the media that Ward had succumbed to his injuries. He was 20 years-old.  The announcement came half an hour after fan video surfaced.

Sunday morning drew a reaction out of Stewart-Haas Racing as vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli told the media Stewart would not race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Watkins Glen International.

“I support Tony Stewart. I think I’ve shown that over the past 14 years,” he said.

NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Regan Smith is slated to drive the No. 14 instead.

Stewart’s presence at dirt tracks has been questioned since his wreck at Southern Iowa Speedway one year ago. After breaking his leg in a horrific accident, the three-time Sprint Cup champion returned to Sprint Car racing last month. It is unknown when he’ll return to NASCAR competition.

No criminal charges are pending at this time due to it being an active investigation.

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