Has Tony Stewart's notorious temper finally gotten the better of him? In a still-developing story, authorities with the Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Office are investigating an incident Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports park in which Stewart, a three-time Cup champion struck driver Kevin Ward with his sprint car after an altercation during an Empire Super Sprints series race.
Stewart is scheduled to start 13th in today's Cheez-It 355 at the Glen at Watkins Glen International Raceway, and at present still plans on competing. It was confirmed earlier this morning by Charlotte Observer racing reporter Jim Utter that Ward, 20, was dead on arrival at Thompson Health, and that the District Attorney's office had been notified, but the investigation is obviously still ongoing. Stewart has been cooperative with Ontario County Sheriff's officials, and had returned to Watkins Glen at the time of the updates on Ward's condition.
Tyler Graves, a sprint-car racer and friend of Ward's, told Sporting News what he witnessed from the Turn 1 grandstands: "Tony pinched him into the frontstretch wall, a racing thing," Graves said. "The right rear tire went down, he spun on the exit of (Turn) 2. They threw the caution and everything was toned down. Kevin got out of his car. … He was throwing his arms up all over the place at Tony for most of the corner. "I know Tony could see him. 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."
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