Sunday, September 14, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Tony Stewart pulls out of race after fatal crash

By
From page B1 | August 11, 2014 |

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Tony Stewart pulled out of the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen Sunday, 12 hours after the three-time champion struck and killed a sprint car driver who had climbed from his car and was on the darkened dirt track trying to confront Stewart during a race in upstate New York.

Greg Zipadelli, competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, said at a news conference that Stewart “feels strongly” about not competing Sunday following the death of Kevin Ward, Jr. The decision was an about-face for the organization, which initially said Stewart would be behind the wheel of his No. 14 Chevrolet when the green flag waved.

“We gave Tony some time to sleep on it. He feels strongly this is the right thing to do,” Zipadelli said. “All you can do is what you feel is right, and we feel this is right. We get through today and do it the best we can as a group.

In a statement, Stewart said the crash has been “emotional” for all involved.

“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,” he said.

The crash happened Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, a dirt track and an extracurricular race for a driver of Stewart’s stature. Stewart frequently races in the events as a hobby to the side of the big-money NASCAR races.

Ward, a 20-year-old driver, had crashed following a bump with Stewart one lap earlier. Ward and Stewart were racing side-by-side for position as they exited a turn. Ward was on the outside when Stewart, on the bottom, seemed to slide toward Ward’s car and crowd him toward the wall. The rear tire of Stewart’s car appeared to clip the front tire of Ward’s car, and Ward spun into the fence.

Video showed Ward walking from his crashed car onto the racing surface as cars circled by, and, as he gestured at Stewart’s passing car, he was struck. Ward was standing to the right of Stewart’s familiar No. 14 car, which seemed to kick out from the rear and hit him.

“The next thing I could see, I didn’t see (the other driver) anymore,” witness Michael Messerly said. “It just seemed like he was suddenly gone.”

Authorities questioned Stewart once on Saturday night and went to Watkins Glen to talk to him again Sunday. They described him as “visibly shaken” after the crash and said he was cooperative.

On Sunday, Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said that criminal charges have not been ruled out, but that investigators also don’t have any evidence at this point in the investigation to support criminal intent.

“Stewart is free to go about his business,” Povero said.

The sheriff renewed a plea for spectators to turn over photos and videos of the crash. He said cars on the track were traveling around 30-35 mph at the time Ward was struck. Investigators were reconstructing the accident and looking into everything from the dim lighting on a portion of the track to how muddy it was, as well as if the dark firesuit Ward was wearing played a role in his death.

Getting out of a wrecked car to confront another driver is common in almost every series. Wrecked race cars can rarely be driven off the track, and the driver has to get out to find his way back to either the pits or the garage. It creates ample opportunity for angry confrontations.

Stewart has had a few of his own, and everyone from mild-mannered Jeff Gordon to ladylike Danica Patrick has erupted in anger on the track at another driver. The confrontations are part of the sport’s culture: Fans love it and cheer wildly from the stands. They love the bumping, the banging and the bickering.

Driver Cory Sparks, a friend of Ward’s, was driving in Saturday night’s race and was a few cars back when Ward was killed.

“The timing was unsafe,” he said of Ward’s decision to get out of his car to confront Stewart. “When your adrenaline is going, and you’re taken out of a race, your emotions flare.”

The crash Saturday came almost exactly a year after Stewart suffered a compound fracture to his right leg in a sprint car race in Iowa. The injury cost him the second half of the NASCAR season. Stewart only returned to sprint track racing last month, and won in his return, at Tri-City Motor Speedway in Michigan.

The broken leg cost him the entire second-half of last season and sidelined him during NASCAR’s important Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Stewart wasn’t cleared to get back in a race car until February, the day the track opened for preparations for NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500 began.

“Everybody has hobbies,” he said last month.

“That’s what I like to do when I have extra time. I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing it. I feel like there are a lot of other things I could be doing that are a lot more dangerous and a lot bigger waste of time with my time off do than doing that.”

Among Stewart’s many business interests is his ownership of Ohio dirt track Eldora Speedway, and his stake in Stewart-Haas Racing, which fields cars for Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Patrick.

The site of Saturday night’s crash is the same track where Stewart was involved in a July 2013 accident that seriously injured a 19-year-old driver. He later took responsibility for his car making contact with another and triggering the 15-car accident that left Alysha Ruggles with a compression fracture in her back.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

The show goes on for American Canyon comic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1

 
David Lew: Chuckles keep coming despite cancer battle

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Walk to End Alzheimer’s brings out supporters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Council candidate leads cleanup day, youth rally

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
How to help prevent sports-related eye injuries

By Betsey Campbell, MPH | From Page: C4

Birthday party brings writers, musicians in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Beware of invading plant species

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4, 2 Comments

 
Vacaville Grad Nite needs volunteers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

CHP announces senior driving class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

 
Solano drug court plans reunion

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5

 
Time to sell? Who can say with certainty?

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Nut Tree Airport to see runway work

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Risk a key factor in investment decisions

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

 
County graduates complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Suisun City police: Sept. 12, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 12, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

.

US / World

AP Enterprise: al-Qaida’s Syrian cell alarms US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Football coach moves game for daughter’s wedding

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
The old ways are no way for Army drill sergeants

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C6

Rescuers end ocean search for Navy fighter pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
2 homes destroyed in Northern California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Feds chase treasure hunter turned fugitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Will Apple’s digital wallet kill the card swipe?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Transgender girl crowned homecoming princess

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Man sues after losing 5 toes in Colorado jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Syrians attacked in Lebanon after soldiers killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Ukraine government repels rebel attack on airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Pope urges world to shed apathy toward new threats

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

 
Just take care of it

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 12 Comments

 
Campaign signs mean little, really

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

Hold the line with Local 39

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoons: Sept. 14, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A8

Sound off for Sept. 14, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Know of any new taxes?

By Rod Keck | From Page: A9, 14 Comments

 
President a success or failure?

By Thomas Sowell | From Page: A9, 11 Comments

Scottish independence tied to national identity

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A9

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 14, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

‘Tammi’ and I are getting serious, but her friends don’t like me

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 14, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

 
Americans Ferris, Fowler on Booker Prize shortlist

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

NASCAR’s Kenseth behind anti-bullying kids’ book

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Solano volleyball preview: Falcons look to repeat as BVC champs

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers look for win against Bears in Levi’s opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders’ Carr to make home debut vs. familiar foe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Rodney walks in run in 10th to give A’s 3-2 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Mayweather remains unbeaten despite bite complaint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Travis Bowl results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

Stars Recreation results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

 
Contador beats Froome to win Vuelta 20th stage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

DeJoria, Enders-Stevens top NHRA qualifying

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
McIlroy, Horschel tied for Tour Championship lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

No. 15 Stanford rebounds from loss, tops Army 35-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
College football Top 25

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

This date in sports history for Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sports on TV for Sunday, Sept. 14, 2013

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

Kyle Busch wins Trucks Series race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Kevin Harvick wins again for JR Motorsports

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Where’s the tape? America responds to video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Ambrose leaving NASCAR to return to Australia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Gordon covets elusive 5th title as Chase begins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Rice saga puts quiet Ravens owner in spotlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Peterson booked and released from Texas jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Business

Hackerspaces help techies turn ideas into reality

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
On the money: Options abound for selling used mobile phones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US threatened Yahoo with huge fine over emails

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Recalls this week: smoke alarms, generators

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Tech Tips: Sprint’s good rates come with a price

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
Sponsors keep close watch on NFL investigation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Patricia C. “Pat” Child

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara J. McGee

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Olga Mae Schaffer Lilienthal

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Minnie Lee Dixon

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics