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
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
music
News
i100
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

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"