Driver Kevin Ward Jr. passed away at the age of 20 after he was hit by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart on Saturday, August 9. The fatal accident took place during a Sprint dirt-track race in Empire Super Sprints series event at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Canandaigua in Upstate New York.
According to CNN, the tragic event happened after Ward's car was hit by Stewart. Ward later went out of the car and walked down the track apparently to confront Stewart. Two cars then approached him. "The first car swerved to avoid the driver out on the track. The second car, operated by Tony Stewart, struck the driver," Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said in a statement. Ward was pronounced dead at the hospital at 11:15 P.M.
A spokesperson for Stewart has released a statement to address the "tragic accident." The spokesperson, Mike Arning, said, "A tragic accident took place last night during a sprint car race in which Tony Stewart was participating. Tony was unhurt, but a fellow competitor lost his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We're still attempting to sort through all the details and we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time."
Povero added that Stewart "has cooperated with the investigation, which is ongoing." The three-time NASCAR champion decided not to participate in a race at Watkins Glen International race track on Sunday.