Thursday 18 December 2014

NASCAR champion Tony Stewart kills driver in tragic on-track collision

Published 10/08/2014 | 10:15

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
Kevin Ward Jnr

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart is being investigated after he fatally struck a fellow driver walking on the track.

The Spring Cup champion was driving on Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park at New York when his car allegedly struck Kevin Ward Jnr (20).

He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

Stewart is said to be cooperating with the local sheriff's department as they investigate the incident and he has not been arrested.

According to reports, hiscar allegedly struck driver Ward at 10pm on Saturday night.

The track announced on Facebook: "Tonight's racing events were suspended due to an accident. "Please hold off on any speculation until we have further information to share."

"Canandaigua Motorspots Park will not have an official statement on the accident that happened in the ESS race until tomorrow. Please pray for the entire racing community of fans, drivers, and families. Please be respectful in any comments."

Mr Ward had collided with Stewart during an earlier lap which left his car with a flat tyre and as he walked from his car on the track, he was reportedly hit by the vehicle and dragged nearly 50 feet.

The incident was not an official NASCAR event.

Mr Stewart issued a statement to USA Today, saying: “A tragic accident took place last night during a sprint car race in which Tony Stewart was participating. Tony was unhurt, but a fellow competitor lost his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We’re still attempting to sort through all the details and we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time.”

Just before 4pm Irish time, Stewart canceled plans to compete in a race later today, team manager Greg Zipadelli said at a televised news conference.

"He feels strongly this is the right thing to do," Zipadelli told reporters.

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