Saturday, February 28, 2015
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

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Hop to it: Vacaville ready for rabbit invasion

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

     
    True grit: Travis Teacher of the Year refuses to accept failure

    By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Firefighters garner praise, Scout earns Eagle rank

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Exercise machine toppled on him, man says

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
     
    Officials discuss regional program to adapt to rising tides

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Vasculitis is inflammation of blood vessels

    By Scott Anderson | From Page: B8

     
    Fairfield police log: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    .

    US / World

    Man shoots wife, himself at Northern Calif. retirement home

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Commuter with measles also dined at Bay Area restaurant

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Hundreds of illicit oil wastewater pits found in Kern County

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Thieves crash car through electronics store in San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Some California farmers to go without federal water

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Orange County case challenges legality of tiered water rates

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    US appeals court: Marathon bombing trial can stay in Boston

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    US rescinds rule requiring judges to move to Guantanamo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Gunman kills 7, commits suicide, in house-to-house rampage

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Woman knocked out by eggs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

    Mexico official: Police capture top capo ‘La Tuta’ Gomez

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    Well-educated ‘Jihadi John’ no surprise to experts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Opinion

    How GOP can resolve immigration mess

    By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A8

     
    Unlikely winners of Greece’s surrender on euro

    By Mark Gilbert | From Page: A8

    A remedy for veterans’ care

    By Bill Frist And Jim Marshall | From Page: A8

     
    Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    .

    Living

    Today in History: Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

     
    Poem about heaven helps dog owners when beloved pet dies

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

    Coca-Cola bottle as art? Atlanta’s High Museum takes a look

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Leonard Nimoy, famous as Mr. Spock on ‘Star Trek,’ dies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

    .

    Sports

    SCC women’s basketball out of playoffs after 74-47 loss

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

     
    Vaca advances three wrestlers into semis at Masters

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

     
    Spurs snap 4-game skid, beat short-handed Kings 107-96

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Thompson scores 25 points, Warriors rout Raptors 113-89

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Casey McGehee’s move to Giants a homecoming of sorts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Bulls expect Derrick Rose back this season from knee surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Testimony: Several Hernandez texts are missing from phone

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Approaching ‘last call’ for NHL GMs to tweak rosters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    PGA Tour to move Match Play to Texas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    MLS Commissioner Garber: Hopeful season will start on time

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR car stolen from hotel before race

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    McIlroy to miss cut at Honda Classic; Reed leads

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    NHL fines Sharks’ Couture $5,000 for tripping from behind

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Browns agree to terms with quarterback Josh McCown

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Kyle Busch released from hospital following foot surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
     
    This date in sports history for Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    .

    Business

    Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Uber says database containing driver info was breached

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fiat Chrysler recalls 467K SUVs for possible stalling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    US consumer sentiment slips in February on icy weather

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Southwest nearly done inspecting planes that were grounded

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    5 reasons US economy is stronger than Q4 GDP suggests

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

     
    Tribes from around US gather to discuss legal marijuana

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Gabriel T. Traub

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Maria Kraszewski

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Home Seller 2/28/2015

    Right at Home: Decor made of bicycle parts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

    Real estate transactions for Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

    Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.80 percent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3