New York residents who are fans of NASCAR racing have probably been following the case of Tony Stewart, the winner of the Sprint Cup Series champion on three past occasions. Stewart recently was in the news for a much less positive reason. On Aug. 9, he struck fellow racer Kevin Ward, Jr. with his racing vehicle, killing him. The sprint car race was taking place in upstate New York at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
Following the tragic death of Ward, Stewart declined to participate in three consecutive races. But according to an announcement made by Stewart-Haas Racing on Aug. 28, Stewart plans to race again at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend.
No official determination has yet been made regarding the death of Ward, as the investigation by the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department is ongoing. After the announcement that Stewart planned to return to racing, the spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office stated that there was no news forthcoming regarding the status of their investigation.
According to reports from police after the tragedy occurred, Stewart was ”visibly shaken,” following the crash while he remained at the scene of the car accident.
The vice president and chief racing development officer of NASCAR released his own statement assuring fans that Stewart had been cleared to return to racing when he chose to do so.
In the wake of Ward’s death, NASCAR has implemented a new rule regarding the procedure for racers after being involved in crashes on the track or those unable to move forward in their cars. When he was mowed down, ward was, under caution, walking down the dirt track.
Now, drivers must remain strapped inside their vehicles unless remaining in them would subject them to immediate dangers from road hazards or fire. Safety crews will then arrive and escort them off the track. Drivers can no longer walk onto the track itself.
Ward’s survivors may choose to pursue legal action against Stewart or other entities to be compensated for the death of their loved one.
Source: USA Today, “Tony Stewart will return to race at Atlanta this weekend” Aug. 28, 2014