CANANDAIGUA, N.Y., Aug. 11 (UPI) -- NASCAR driver Tony Stewart elected not to take part in a race on Sunday in Watkins Glen, after striking and killing Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car event at Canandaigua's Motorsports Park on Saturday night.
During the event on Saturday, Stewart pushed Ward's car off the track in the 14th lap. Ward then got out of his car, seemingly in an effort to confront Stewart.
As the 20-year-old approached Stewart's still moving car, it spun out and struck Ward with its right tire. He was pulled underneath the vehicle and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
As a result, Stewart opted not to take part in the Cheez-It 355 NASCAR race on Sunday.
"There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. 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," Stewart wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. "My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy."
Some have speculated that Stewart intentionally went after Ward, and an investigation into the accident continues.
Sheriff Povero: "Mr. Stewart has been fully cooperative... He is very upset and confirmed his contiuning cooperation."— Prescott Rossi (@PrescottRossi) August 10, 2014
District attorney's office has been notified. "This is an ongoing investigation of an on-track crash." No charges pending at this time.— Prescott Rossi (@PrescottRossi) August 10, 2014
Sprint-car racer Tyler Graves told the Sporting News he was watching the incident from the grandstands in Canandaigua.
"I know Tony could see him. I know how you can see out of these cars. When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle," Graves said. "When you hit a throttle on a sprint car, the car sets sideways. It set sideways, the right rear tire hit Kevin, Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under it for a second or two and then it threw him about 50 yards ...Tony Stewart needs to be put in prison for life."