Tony Stewart crash: NASCAR champion releases statement after accident which killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr.

Stewart sent his thoughts and prayers to Ward Jr.'s family and friends and admitted 'there aren’t words to describe the sadness' he is currently feeling

Tony Stewart has released a statement regarding the tragic incident at a motor race in the United States that claimed the life of fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr., admitting that “there aren’t words to describe the sadness” he feels after the horrifying crash.

The three-time NASCAR champion was taking part in a little known race at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York state when he was involved in a collision with Ward Jr. that sent him spinning into the barrier. Incensed with the contact, Ward JR. walked into the middle of the track despite the race continuing and waited for Stewart to come back around on the oval circuit.

Video footage online showed Stewart’s car fish-tailing as it came onto the back-straight, where he hit Ward Jr. as he went past. The 20-year-old was seen to be dragged under the rear-right wheel of Stewart’s sprint car, before being flung into the air and coming to a halt on his back further down the track.

Stewart's crew-chief Greg Zippadelli would later confirm on Sunday that Stewart would not race in the day’s NASCAR event at Watkins Glen, and the 42-year-old driver issued a statement in which he sent his “thoughts and prayers” to the family and friends of Ward Jr.

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

Read more: NASCAR champions Stewart involved in accident that kills fellow driver

Stewart was questioned by authorities following the crash in which he was described to be “visibly shaken” and cooperative. Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said that while investigators have found no clear evidence of criminal intent on Stewart’s part, criminal charges have not yet been ruled out.

Stewart's crew-chief Greg Zippadelli confirmed his driver would not race at Watkins Glen on Sunday Stewart's crew-chief Greg Zippadelli confirmed his driver would not race at Watkins Glen on Sunday A former state and federal prosecutor who now works in private practice admitted that from the video footage, it would be hard to bring criminal charges against the 2002, 2005 and 2011 NASCAR champions.

David S. Weinstein said: “I think even with the video, it's going to be tough to prove that this was more than just an accident and that it was even culpable negligence, which he should've known or should've believed that by getting close to this guy, that it was going to cause the accident.”

A close friend of Ward Jr.’s and fellow driver Cory Spinks admitted that it was an “unsafe” decision to get out of his car and confront Stewart while the race was still continuing.

“The timing was unsafe,” said Spinks. “When your adrenaline is going, and you're taken out of a race, your emotions flare.”

On-track confrontations are far from rare when it comes to stock car racing in the United States, and while the race was not in the usual cars that Stewart is accustomed to in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the aggression and high emotion is all the same.

Stewart only returned to action last month after suffering a compound fracture to his right leg that ruled him out of the second half of last season. The accident was also at the same track that Stewart was involved in an accident that left 19-year-old driver Alysha Ruggles with a compression fracture in her back. He later took responsibility for his car making contact with another which triggered the 15-car wreck.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin