NASCAR driver Tony Stewart hit and killed fellow driver Mike Ward Jr. during a confrontation on Saturday night, and it was all captured on camera.
The incident happened at a sprint car event at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
via NY Times:
Ward and Stewart had bumped cars during an earlier lap, sending Ward’s racecar into an outside wall and prompting a caution flag. Ward then exited his racecar and approached on foot as Stewart’s racecar came around again. As Ward stood on the track and pointed at Stewart, Stewart’s racecar sounded as if it revved its engine then fishtailed, the right tire hitting Ward and dragging him under the car.
The death occurred about an hour away from the site of a Sprint Cup race on Sunday at Watkins Glen. Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition for the Stewart-Haas Racing team, announced on Sunday morning that Stewart would not race in the Sprint Cup event. He was to be replaced by Regan Smith.
“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,” Stewart said in a statement. “It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Stewart was reportedly cooperating with an investigation by the Ontario County sheriff’s office, but was allowed to return to Watkins Glen, where he had been preparing to race on Sunday. Zipadelli earlier told USA Today it would be “business as usual” at the track and that Stewart would compete.
A witness to the crash, the sprint car driver Tyler Graves, told Sporting News that Stewart’s action led to the fatality.
“I know Tony could see him,” Graves said. “I know how you can see out of these cars. When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle. When you hit a throttle on a sprint car, the car sets sideways. It set sideways, the right rear tire hit Kevin, Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under it for a second or two, and then it threw him about 50 yards.”
Watch footage of the graphic incident below.