UPDATE: SINCE I FIRST POSTED THIS BLOG, TONY HAS SINCE BEEN FOUND NOT CULPIBLE OF ANY CRIMINAL CHARGES BY A GRAND JURY. WE HAVE ALSO LEARNED THAT WARD WAS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA TO A POINT THAT HIS MENTL FACULTIES WERE IMPAIRED TO THE POINT OF NOT BEING RATIONAL. IT IS A TRAGIC ACCIDENT, THAT THE WARD FAMILY AND TONY WILL LIVE WITH FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. WHAT THE WARD FAMILY NEEDS TO DO IS MOVE ON INSTEAD OF REPEATEDLY POSTING LETTERS AGAINST TONY. AT SOME POINT IT WILL BECOME SLANDER. A LESSON LEARNED IS NO DRIVER SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO RACE WHEN THEY ARE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ANY MIND ALTERING DRUG. I STILL BELIEVE TONY COULD HAVE DONE MORE TO AVOID WARD, BUT THAT IS MY OPINION, WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY NOT SUBSTANTIATED BY FACT.
For those of you who do not follow NASCAR or Sprint Car Racing (I know it's confusing, however Sprint Car Racing is not Sprint Cup Racing. Sprint Cup is NASCAR. Sprint Car Racing are small cars without fenders, meaning it is opened wheel racing performed mainly on dirt tracks.) you may not know the name Tony Stewart but you soon will. Tony Stewart is the co-owner of Stewart - Haas Racing in NASCAR. Tony also races in Sprint Cars, which by design were called Outlaw Cars. Sprint cars were like the Outlaw cars but they didn't have the giant wing overhead. Over the years. they have combined to make one car.
Tony owns a Sprint Car Racing team. Tony is a person who would race all day and night, seven days a week if he could. His passion is not having a family and children (which he doesn't have), it is 100% racing. For those of us who follow both styles of racing know that Tony also has something that may be his downfall: a very quick temper that he has voiced and used his car on more than one occasion, to enforce his displeasure with other drivers as well as fist fights. Now fist fights are nothing new to racers. Friday and Saturday night racing has always had its share, but even if the drivers hated each other, on the track was a different issue. You don't purposely use your car to injure another driver. It was an unspoken rule and drivers are the people who understand Karma!
Saturday night, August 9, 2014, in a Sprint Car Race in Ontario County, NY, Tony's car pinched Kevin Ward's car up against the outside guard rail, causing Ward's car to spin out, ending Wards night of racing. The caution flag came out, slowing the cars down to Pace Car speed. Kevin Ward came out of his damaged car and ran into the middle of the car, pointing at Tony Stewart, venting his anger at Tony. What Ward did was crazy and extremely dangerous. Though the track has lights, it is a night time race and driver's deal with dark spots on the track. The car ahead of Tony Stewart saw Ward in time to swerve away from Ward. Ward came down farther in front of Tony's car. Watching the video at least a hundred times, one thing is certain, either Tony didn't see Ward in time, which I find hard to believe after seeing the video, or Tony...being Tony, wasn't about to be intimidated by Ward.
As Tony came up on Ward, the front of Tony's car was close to Ward, but missed him. The problem is, you can definitely hear Tony hit accelerate his engine, causing the rear of Tony's car to fishtail. Anyone who know Sprint Cars knows these cars are extremely powerful and at slow speeds, a quick acceleration will cause the car rear of the car to fishtail to the right (Where Ward was). The ensuing acceleration of the engine fishtailed the rear of the car, causing the rear tire to run over Ward, from some reports, Ward's body went around the tire more than once and then ejected Ward's body, with his body landing up to 50 yards away from the incident. Watching the video, when they placed the camera on ward, it was obvious that Ward's body, though stretched out prone, was twisted. He died on the way to the hospital.
In respect to Kevin Ward's family, your feeling of loss must be tremendous. May God wrap his loving arms around you during this time of grief. Racing is a sport, but no sport is worth the loss of life.
What will come out in this investigation, in my opinion, is this tragedy could easily have been avoided. Yes, tempers were high, but professionalism and common sense should have ruled. Tony, I don't care if Kevin Ward was where he should never have been, standing in the flow of race cars, you should have brought your car to either a complete stop or turned a hard left getting as far away from Ward. Accelerating your car was not a reasonable or safe reaction. It was the infamous Tony Stewart temper. Now a funeral will happen in the next few days, a family's grief will never stop. Restraint on your and Ward's part would have avoided this, but he was young, and young men don't always make wise decisions, but you're a seasoned driver who should have used wisdom and did what was needed to avoid him.
The last thing I want my readers and the public to watch is Tony's front tires. He turned right. At high speeds, these cars, running on dirt track require in the turns for you turn left to go right, or turn right to go left. It's a precarious balancing act of hydroplaning the rear of the car to allow it to slide through the turn. When you are at Pace Car speed, none of that is needed because your car is going so slow it will just follow the turn as a normal car would. Tony: Why did you accelerate your engine and turn your wheels to the right, the side young Ward was on? Not only does the family deserve an answer to that question, but so does law enforcement, the racing community, and your #1 fan as well. Why Tony?