August 10, 2014

Did Tony Stewart run down Kevin Ward Jr.?

I've seen the video and think Ward is responsible for his fate. How can we interpret a flinch of Stewart's car as Stewart murderously aiming at Ward when Ward was crazily moving about? Maybe in super-slow motion there is insight into Stewart's head....

110 comments:

Freeman Hunt said...

Why was he out on the track?

Freeman Hunt said...

"Look both ways," does not apply to a race track. At a race track the rule is, "Do not walk on the race track."

PB Reader said...

Murderous intent? Unlikely, but these are skilled drivers who control their cars as well as surgeons control a scalpal. Manslaughter surely.

Sorun said...

I'm saying Stewart suffered road rage and did it instinctively/intentionally.

Sorun said...

Witness: "He approached him and evidently when he was driving by the guy standing on the track gesturing at him, he gunned his engine. What happened was the back end kicked out and clipped the guy and the guy flew across the track.

Ok, he didn't intentionally hit him but he was intentionally aggressive. Stewart is fucked.

Stephen Hamilton said...

Sorum...you're an idiot...you seriously believe he deliberately decided to hit Ward over something as idiotic as THIS race...you don't know jack about NASCAR of him!

The Crack Emcee said...

I don't know.

But I do know - for those of us outside of NASCAR - it appears the fans finally got what they came for,...

Original Mike said...

I don't know about Stewart. Ward was stupid.

Ann Althouse said...

@Sorun Did you watch the video? I read the text descriptions, then I watched the video and I couldn't believe it. Ward walks all over the track, in front of cars.

Shane said...

Talking about "intent" of another at this point is wrong. Consider that the world does not revolve you and your precious opinion of what you observed on a video as a vehicle blurred by, at night, as you sat in the luxury of your air-conditioned home how many hundreds of miles away. Let the investigators do their work. They are trained and deliberate for a reason, and that reason is so people who cream they know intent from a three second patch of night-time video are thankfully nowhere near our legal system. Maybe you'll be on the jury though, and you can pronounce him guilty before the judge even starts the trial.

Tank said...

Looks like Stewarts vision was obstructed by the car in front of him; might not have seen him until just before impact.

THOMASt WREN said...

Walking onto a racetrack is insane. Sort of like walking into traffic on I-10 because a driver cut in front of you.

THOMASt WREN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T Rellis said...

Dirt track, the rear end comes around in a drift in the corners. That'swhat caused the wreck in the first place and then the guy gets out in the same curve and jumps from side to side. I'm not saying he deserved to die but damn, what else would be expected?

Dark track, black suit and helmet and jumping from side to side, I'd say scientifically the likelihood of getting hit is somewhere around 99%.

Big Mike said...

If you look at the entire video, check what the cars, including Stewart's, are doing at that point on the preceding lap. Stewart is at a point in the track where he should be gunning the engine and applying reverse lock to get through the corner.

Ward was out on a dirt track in a black driving suit with a black helmet during a night race. He died of terminal stupidity.

Sorun said...

@Sorun Did you watch the video? I read the text descriptions, then I watched the video and I couldn't believe it. Ward walks all over the track, in front of cars.

Did you see the fishtail? That's what did it. Otherwise Ward wouldn't have been hit.

Gahrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

As someone who has hit a pedestrian with my car, (the police said it wasn't my fault..they literally ran in front of my car) the feelings you have are terrible...starting with that millisecond when you realize what is going to happen, and the fact that there is nothing you can do. I was lucky, I was driving slowly, and the person rolled up my hood and only got a few bruises. I was still shocky, and feeling guilty for the rest of the day, and the memory still haunts me when I think about it.

There is a reason why Stewart isn't racing today, and frankly I feel more sorry for him than I do the idiot who did everything exactly wrong and got killed.

The Crack Emcee said...

Anyone want to explain why people think this was professional road rage of kind?

Was there a beef between the two of them previously?

CWJ said...

Really sad. From what little I know of NASCAR, Tony Stewart has a solid following and a good guy reputation. Even if it's completely Ward's fault, this will follow him the rest of his career and beyond.

But why is a first class NASCAR driver like Stewart sprint car racing in the first place?

Ebbers Palomino I said...

...But I do know - for those of us outside of NASCAR - it appears the fans finally got what they came for

We saw the true face of the NASCAR Community when Dale Earnhardt died too, eh?

Cedarford said...

Discussions on youtube have some fairly spohisticated commentors that know drag car construction and what drivers and crew are supposed to do in certain situations.
The drag cars cannot be stopped on a dime, and when they slow down they are very difficult to steer (understeer). Avoiding something on the track (knowing no time to brake exists) sometimes actually involves giving the car gas to lift the front enough to really turn the wheel fast and give them bite.

What happened with the young hothead was he was walking right in the middle of the track, blue car before the collision misses him by a foot or so, but obscures Stewart's view.

Investigation should clear Stewart just fine, though he and other drivers will be told they didn't get to the inner edge of the track fast enough. Regrettably, the prime, even sole fault in this will go to the hothead local dirt track kid, Who showed why drivers never get out of their vehicles and fire&rescue never get on the track until drivers are in a slowed dowb, controlled line with no position changes during a caution flag.

Pity - Kid probably saw some angry pros with a decade more experience and judgment get out of their vehicles and break the rules and media creams itself when it happens because a mano-a-mano confrontation is about to happen...And the attacking and defending driver get oodles of lucrative attention from a fisticuffs or one or both dragged away before blows land.

donald said...

I saw the video. That kid thought he was gonna be on sports center gettin all Kyle Busch on that major league asshole Stewart.

He's got a Darwin Award all wrapped up.

Sorun said...

All the Bubbas with a #14 sticker on their pickup are going to be hoppin' mad to defend Tony Stewart.

Eustace Chilke said...

Darwin territory for sure.

@Crack, the dead guy is not black. Your insane hatred lacks focus. Effective trolling sometimes requires a bit of patience.

John Lynch said...

He almost got hit by another car.

I think there's assumed risk here.

Ann Althouse said...

"All the Bubbas with a #14 sticker on their pickup are going to be hoppin' mad to defend Tony Stewart."

The name meant nothing to me. I just looked at the video because of the comments that were being made. Seems to me Ward came charging out to do a confrontation with speeding cars in the middle of the track. That was terminally foolish. I'm sure he was overcome with emotion, and I feel sorry for the guy, but I'm defending Stewart from a completely neutral position.

Gahrie said...

But why is a first class NASCAR driver like Stewart sprint car racing in the first place?

Because he enjoys racing and the racing community. it is quite common for Sprint Cup drivers to drive other types of race cars.

PeterK said...

CWJ wrote "But why is a first class NASCAR driver like Stewart sprint car racing in the first place? "

because he is a race car driver. Many top driver's do this. Stewart started out in dirt track racing. The track isn't that far from Watkins Glen.

lemondog said...

Oy. 20 years old.

TreeJoe said...

I'm not a follower at all of this type of thing, but I understand car control dynamics pretty well.

The video is really rough, I had to slow it down to 1/4 speed to see Ward's actions well enough, but we know a few things:

1. Ward's vehicle was blocking 1/3rd of the track at the end of that turn.

2. Ward himself was IN THE MIDDLE of the remaining 2/3rds of the track AND jumped/hopped inwards several times right before the blue car went by...he was then right in the preferred line of driving for a race car driver through that turn.

3. A car going through that turn at speed with a sudden obstacle in sight is F'd. There are only 3 options: Brake, turn more, or gun it. Let's evaluate each:

1. Braking in the middle of a turn at or near max turn speed on a loose surface will transfer weight to the front of the car, the rear will lose traction, and the car will swing wide out of control as the rear end comes around (oversteer).

2. Turning more into the turn, assuming the driver was already at the maximum turning radius achievable, will result in the car sliding sideways but with the front end leading. A car turns with it's front end, and when it can no longer turn it's called understeer - you turn the wheel but it continues sideways with the front end leading. TO ME this is what it looks like Tony's car is doing; it looks like it's in a mild understeer representing he tried to turn into the turn more.

3. He guns the throttle on a dirt track in the middle of a turn which would most likely induce oversteer again and we would have seen the rear end of the vehicle step out.

The thing is, prior to the accident we see Ward continuing to move towards the inside of the track. At the last possible moment, he leans back realizing he's about to get hit. Stewarts car remains on a straight path during this time, which either was his chosen line or he was mildly understeering.

After Ward is hit, Tony's car fishtails.

Honestly, intent doesn't matter to me at this point. Tony may have had an entire .5 seconds to make a move here and whether he made the right one or the wrong one is beside the point.

Stewart got out of his car in the middle of a race with his car blocking 1/3rd of the track and proceeded to, while wearing all black on a night course with cars racing with no headlights, stalk across the track into the middle of the remaining width IN A TURNING area.

He was hit by Stewart because that's who he was trying to confront, but he would have been hit by someone just because of his behavior.

I mourn the loss of a young man, but this is stupidity on an epic level. He jumped out of an airplane expected someone else to hand him a parachute on the way down.

Quaestor said...

Sorun wrote: Did you see the fishtail? That's what did it. Otherwise Ward wouldn't have been hit.

This is one of those situations when people with little or no knowledge of a sport should conquer the urge to draw conclusions from a small amount of data.

Everyone here without actual experience of driving a Sprint car on a dirt track in an actual race at night should SHUT THE FUCK UP.

I generally ignore Biblical citations but here's one that's applicable from the Book of Proverbs: Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Christy said...

Sister is using this as a teaching moment with her learners-permitted son. Dead kid had been racing those carts since he was four, so he was undoubtedly a good driver, but his 20 y.o. brain chose poorly when angered.

gspencer said...

I think we have a Darwin Award winner.

Getting out of a car, in the dark, on a live track.

How stupid do you have to be?

Cedarford said...

Quaestor - "Everyone here without actual experience of driving a Sprint car on a dirt track in an actual race at night should SHUT THE FUCK UP."

Sick of this new debate tactic of saying the only valid view is someone with a PhD in the climate sciences, or went to Harvard Law, or personally is a race pro driving spint cars should SHUT THE FUCK UP about global warming, Obama, Stewart and the numbnuts that got run over.

How about this:

Unless you are trained professionally in the assessment of the degree of expertise of individuals or institutions,,,,Quaestor and others lacking such assessment bona fides should SHUT THE FUCK UP about other people or info sources having expertise or not.

That also goes for Navy pilots that think because they lost 5 planes and spent time in enemy hands that they know all about Marine tactics, geostrategic studies and counsel..AF capabilities, and submarines.


garage mahal said...

NASCAR and track racing is a huge waste of gas. You can drive around in a circle. Awesome.

Quaestor said...

I've pissed off C-Fudd. That's vindication in my book!

Peter Peterson said...

You know how in ice hockey sometimes a player will, in an act of gamesmanship/obnoxiousness, pull up short in front of the goalie and send a spray of ice chips in his face? I think that's essentially what happened here. Stewart clearly goosed the throttle and got the car sideways, which is not something one would ordinarily do where caution flags are being waved (notice how carefully the car immediately preceding Stewart's car went through). I think his intent was to spray some dirt into the face of the youngster who had the temerity to point his finger at him.

CatherineM said...

I think it's not only Ward's fault, he risked the lives/injury to other drivers had they crashed trying to avoid him.

I think his anger got the better of him and he paid a horrible price. Pictures on his website...he looked like a little boy. Sad.

CWJ said...

Thank you Gahrie and PeterK,

I anticipated those answers and indeed they make internal sense. I suppose he can't help himself. But if you're the third highest earning NASCAR driver, which according to forbes he is or once was, why would you risk the franchise on some dirt track "outlaw" sprint racing?

But the question answers itself. People like me who make those calculations even if I had the talent don't have the drive to be the third highest earing NASCAR driver.

CWJ said...

garage mahal,

I'm not a NASCAR fan but I've been to a couple of races at the Kansas Speedway and was quite impressed by the entire operation, especially the fans. So not a fan, but appreciate the sport on its own terms.

Must you "piss" on nearly every subject you comment? I just don't get it.

khesanh0802 said...

Certainly "terminal stupidity". I am a bit suspicious that all the other cars were much lower on the track than Stewart as the idiot was staggering around. However I don't know enough to come to any conclusions.

Horrible thing for Stewart, worse for the kid.

Humperdink said...

In Stewart's early NASCAR days he was a perpetual (read: weekly) hothead. Over the years he has mellowed a bit. This incident will re-ignite the debate over Stewart's anger management skills.

That being said, Ward was foolish to bob and weave all over the track.

Freder Frederson said...

Well, if you think Ward is responsible for his own fate based on seeing a not very clear video, I guess the case is closed.

What Ward did was undoubtedly stupid, but there needs to be a serious investigation into what Stewart did.

Big Mike said...

@gspencer, you could be wearing a black racing suit and black helmet.

Oh, wait a minute.

Gary Rosen said...

Fudd, figure out how to blame it on da jooos yet?

Gahrie said...

Well, if you think Ward is responsible for his own fate based on seeing a not very clear video, I guess the case is closed.

The first thing they teach you in these types of cars is that if you crash, stay in the car until the safety crew frees you....for exactly this reason.

Gary Rosen said...

"That also goes for Navy pilots that think because they lost 5 planes and spent time in enemy hands that they know all about Marine tactics, geostrategic studies and counsel..AF capabilities, and submarines."

Well, they have a *slightly* better shot than someone sweating over his beefaroni dinner while the flophouse walls are closing in on him.

Humperdink said...

Let me add to my earlier comment regarding Stewart's temper:

If the Ontario county Sheriff and DA ask NASCAR for video clips of Stewart retaliating with his race car, it would probably comprise several full length movies. (I exaggerate, but not by much.)

gadfly said...

@garage mahal said...
NASCAR and track racing is a huge waste of gas. You can drive around in a circle. Awesome.

OMG! Garage and I agree on an issue. WOW!

NASCAR is code for "Rednecks turning left."

CWJ said...

Freder Frederson wrote -

"What Ward did was undoubtedly stupid, but there needs to be a serious investigation into what Stewart did."

Who said there wouldn't be a serious investigation? You write this like there might not be such an investigation. Thumbs up for Freder. Defender of the blindingly obvious. Sprint racing is now on notice.

BTW, there's a world of difference between investigating what happened and "what Stewart did." Sounds like you've drawn your conclusion already.

Freder Frederson said...

The first thing they teach you in these types of cars is that if you crash, stay in the car until the safety crew frees you

Like I said, what Ward did was incredibly stupid, but that does not absolve Stewart if he deliberately swerved towards Ward.

traditionalguy said...

Maybe Stewart was drunk and that was giving him trouble texting while driving. Or maybe not.

Seriously, Ward must have looked like a deer running across the road at night to Stewart. It happens too fast to react more than a flinch. And poor Stewart can't stuff and mount this trophy.

Quaestor said...

But if you're the third highest earning NASCAR driver, which according to Forbes he is or once was, why would you risk the franchise on some dirt track "outlaw" sprint racing?

I've spoken today to a few of my NASCAR aficionado acqauintences which clarified some points to me. From this information I derive this facts

1) Canandaigua Speedway is a minor dirt track, but not "outlaw" in any sense of the word.

2) Where and when drivers race is chiefly a question of their sponsorship. Sponsors pay to have the cars and the drivers perform for the public. Stewart was likely there because his contracts required his participation.

3) Dirt track racing is a sport unto itself requiring different cars, different skills and different techniques than what are used in Grand National events. The "fishtailing" Sorun was so outraged about is normal turning.

4) Stupid or not Ward's behavior was illegal. The rules require a driver to remain in his car until the crash team arrives. If he'd survived Ward would have likely been suspended, fined, or both.

Quaestor said...

"these facts", sorry for typo

Lucien said...

Sorry -- too soon to tell.

More facts are needed, but, in the meantime, have fun speculating.

SteveR said...

I don't think anyone can place the main responsibility, perhaps all of it on anyone but Ward. True in racing there is a "challenge the other driver" act that we see from time to time but its clearly led to this death. Go after him in the pits or in the media. But on the track with cars still driving around, low light, etc. and some one gets killed.

RJ said...

"these are skilled drivers who control their cars as well as surgeons control a scalpel."

You haven't done a lot of dirt track racing, I guess.

CWJ said...

Quaestor,

Points taken. Regarding them -

1) That's why I put "outlaw" in quotes. It's how sprint racing was sold back when I lived in Indiana. If there's a distinction I'm missing, please inform me.

2) Stewart is an owner not just a driver. I think that's a big part of how he was #3 in earnings. I would suspect he has more control over when, where, and how he races than you suppose.

Quaestor said...

these are skilled drivers who control their cars as well as surgeons control a scalpel.

A valid comparison if a surgical procedure involved 35 chainsaw-wielding adrenaline junkies competing to excise the same appendix.

Big Mike said...

Questor at 6:17 nails the main points, to which I'd add that these cars turn by sliding sideways (upthread I called it "reverse lock" but I have since been corrected -- the front wheels are turned in the same direction as the skid). At that point in the track, exiting a corner, Stewart has very little control of the car as he is balancing the skid using primarily his throttle. The fishtail after hitting Ward is because the balance has been upset.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a racing fan but from what little I've seen many of the racers are spoiled rich kids with daddies willing to finance their hobby and spare them the responsibility of growing up. Looking at the deceased running out on the track all I can think is that here is one very large and angry child throwing a tantrum.

Christy said...

Nephew, who has done this racing with his middle school son for a couple of years now just blew in with a watermelon. Nephew blames the kid. Experience spoke to me.

donald said...

Stewart was out there because he's eat up with racing. It is basically his only interest in life and he races at local tracks all the time.

It's a whole lot better than being eat up with hatred to you're fellow man because he's a self motivated high acheiver as opposed to some pasty fat communist hack. It makes him a far superior person.

Quaestor said...

Stewart is an owner not just a driver...

I'd assume that's immaterial, unless Stewart raced without sponsorship, which he didn't. Stewart's car belongs to Stewart-Hass Racing, not to Tony Stewart personally. Sponsorships are negotiated based on series participation. If you pay for a car to compete in the American Sprint Car Series (of which the Empire Super Sprints is a part) then the owner is obliged to run that car in the series races or pay compensation back to the sponsor.

BrianE said...

Stewart is one of the few NASCAR drivers that also races at local tracks. He was scheduled to race at Watkins Glen today, and some were calling for him to be banned from the race.
It's common to see professional drivers competing at multiple levels. It's how they make their living.
I didn't see the video before, but it looks like,
a. Stewart didn't drive Ward into the wall, causing the initial wreck.
b. Tempers do get out of control at local races and at national events, though it seems to be worse in stock car racing than other forms. Adrenaline flowing and all that.
c. Open wheel cars are very dangerous because the wheels are, well, open. It doesn't sound like Stewart "gunned the engine" to cause the back end to break loose. Actually the opposite. And it's likely Stewart didn't see him.
The other local racers were probably aware of Ward's temper-- it probably wasn't the first time he'd done something like that. But Stewart wouldn't have known that.
As to why Stewart would pick up a Saturday night race-- open wheel dirt tracks cars are a blast.
I raced a stock car years ago, and it's a blast-- open wheel cars are stock cars on steroids.
It's a tragedy that this happened and serves as a reminder that auto racing is dangerous at all levels.

John said...

As far as I can tell, this was not a NASCAR sanctioned race. NASCAR is the National Association of Stock Car Automotive Racers

NASCAR sanctions a number of series but as far as can tell no "Open Wheel" racing such as Sprint cars.

Sprint cars are very different from the Stock Cars associated with NASCAR whih at least bear a superficial resemblence to a car you might drive to work.

I suspect that the confusion is because:

1) Tony Stewart is best known as a NASCAR driver

2) NASCAR's premier series is its Sprint Cup series. The Sprint here refers to the telco sponsor, not to the type of car.

But all the cool kids likes to hate on NASCAR so knock yourselves out.

John Henry

John said...

Regarding control of a Sprint car:

1) It is a dirt track which is never the same way on two laps. Each car that passes changes it slightly.

2) Dirt is slippery. Especially after it has been chewed up and is loose instead of tightly packed.

3) Sprint cars can be anywhere from 400 to 1000HP depending on the type. In a car with a total weight of 1000 lbs or so. In other words lots of power to weight.

4) sprint cars have no clutch or transmission and damn little brakes.

5) Outlaw, in Sprint car racing is probably trademarked. "World of Outlaws" is one of the main sanctioning bodies. Outlaw originally meant that races were held independently of regular sanctioning bodies such as WoO, NASCAR, USAC. CART etc.

I saw the video. I can't tell if Stewart did this intentionally but nothing I saw makes me believe it.

Ward had no business whatever being on the track. He didn't "get what was coming to him" but he was certainly at fault, perhaps totally at fault, for his own death. IMHO.

John Henry

CWJ said...

Quaester@7:06,

Well there we are. Stewart is an owner of STEWART-Hass racing but has no control over the conditions in which he races. He had no part in those negotiations with the sponsors. Got it. Look. All I said was that he was not the pawn you made him out to be. But if you are going to stick to that so be it.

Bob R said...

@Crack - Not a NASCAR fan, but there sure are a lot of them down here. I'm sure there is a tiny minority that go looking for death, just like there are with NFL fans. (OK, it's not a TINY minority in Oakland or Philly, but still a minority.) Anyway, I think most of the fans want to see the drivers defy death. They want to see crashes and see the drivers walk away. There have to be deaths every once in a while so the threat of death is actually there. But that's not what they are there to see.

Quaestor said...

NASCAR sanctions a number of series but as far as can tell no "Open Wheel" racing such as Sprint cars.

There is the Whelen Modified Tour series for open-wheel cars. They race on pavement, however, as far as I can tell.

The fatal race was part of the Empire Super Sprints which seems to have some relationship to the larger American Sprint Car Series. Both organizations are sponsored by Lucas Oil. Not a NASCAR event

Quaestor said...

CWJ wrote: Stewart is an owner of STEWART-Hass racing but has no control over the conditions in which he races. He had no part in those negotiations with the sponsors.

You said it. I didn't.

Really, CWJ, you're either being obstreperous or you're using min-altering drugs.

Humperdink said...

@Crack. This may interest you. The NASCAR race held today at Watkins Glen was won by AJ Allmendinger, owned by team JTGDaugherty Racing. The Daugherty is Brad Daugherty, former UNC star and Cleveland Cavs player.

Some time ago as Daugherty was getting heavily involved in NASCAR, he asked if asked color mattered in NASCAR. His response was classic: "The only color that matters in NASCAR is green ($$)".

CWJ said...

Quaester,

Sarcasm is lost on you.

sane_voter said...

Although the kid was stupid to walk out on the track, Stewart looked like he was driving faster than the other cars at that point and did goose his engine as he approached Ward, something none of the other drivers did as they passed Ward. The guy you can hear talking on the video sure sounded like he thought Stewart hit him on purpose. I wouldn't be surprised if Stewart wanted to scare the piss out of him and ended up hitting him by accident instead.

Kansas City said...

Tree Joe offered what sounds like smart analysis, but I question why he does not recognize that Stewart pretty clearly throttled the car.

Ward's conduct was incredibly stupid, in violation of the rules and the cause of his death. However, I don't think any of those points are dispositive on the separate issue of whether Stewart was negligent or reckless (or I guess intentional, but that would be virtually impossible to prove).

I think the legal issue is whether, when faced with the situation of the recklessly stupid Ward on the track, Stewart engaged in negligent, reckless or intentional conduct that caused Ward's death.

It sounds like Stewart clearly throttled the car. If so, and the result was to throw out the back end so it hit Ward, Stewart better have a very good explanation for why he throttled the car. I thought of the following: (1) get past him more quickly; (2) trying to get the back end to move left rather than right; or (3) a technique that controls the car better and arguably lessens the likelihood of the rear spinning out. I thought the potential problem was that it could have been a "macho" answer to the guy or a technique that would cause the rear to spin right and scare the guy.

It also is another situation where what Stewart said when he "cooperated" with the authorities will be very important. From a purely legal perspective, he should not have talked to the authorities, but that would have been a PR disaster. In hindsight, the best PR/legal approach would have been to plead that he was too upset to talk about it, get legal advice, and then "cooperate" fully. Of course, from the point of justice, I'm glad he talked to the authorities so justice will be done (either pro or anti Stewart).

rhhardin said...

or I guess intentional, but that would be virtually impossible to prove

J.L.Austin's "Three Ways of Spilling Ink" covers a close case :

So far we have shown that a thing done intentionally need not be done deliberately or on purpose, but what about conversely? Can something be done deliberately or purposely but not intentionally? Can we think of a case in which something is done deliberately but not intentionally? Certainly this seems more difficult. However, there are cases.

I am summoned to quell a riot in India. Speed is imperative. My mind runs on the action to be taken five miles down the road at the Residency. As I set off down the drive, my cookboy's child' new gocart, the apple of her eye, is right across the road. I realize I could stop, get out, and move it, but to hell with that. I must push on. It's too bad, that's all. I drive right over it and am on my way. In this case, a snap decision is taken on what is essentially an incidental matter. I did drive over the gocard deliberately, but not intentionally - nor, of course, unintentionally either. It was never part of my intention to run over the gocart....

Kansas City said...

Rhhardin:

I was not clear in my "intentional" reference. I meant intent to hit Ward. It is pretty obvious that if Stewart throttled the car, that was an intentional act. The "intent" issue for murder would be if Stewart intended to hit Ward, which I think would be virtually impossible to prove (he also almost certainly did not intend to do that absent extreme road rage type reaction).

sane_voter said...

The other thing is that Stewart is much closer to Ward than the other cars that drove by him previously. What we don't see in the video is if Stewart veered his car towards Ward as he approached him. That would be evidence of intent.

Anonymous said...

Stewart intentionally crashed Ward's car then under yellow he intentionally ran him over.

That's what you see and hear. Under yellow why would Stewart not just follow the inside line? He came in high and gunned his engine as he passed. Sprint cars are setup to oversteer. He knew he was swinging his tail into Ward.

Not only that but don't you think he could feel the body under his wheel as he dragged him? Did he stop, hell no.

Prison is where this POS belongs.

Lorne Scheffer said...

Stewart clearly meant to intimidate and bully the kid. He throttled to spray him with dirt and that is what ultimately killed Ward....Wards decision to be out on the track in a fit of rage is the reason he is dead but Stewart will have to live with the consequences of his actions...Stewart did kill Ward not intentionally but his actions certainly was a contributing factor...he needs to be held accountable
Truly pointless and discussing
RIP Kevin Ward Jr

Alex said...

This is just a prelude to the revival of the Roman gladiatorial games!

Praise Jupiter's Cock!

Joe said...

It sounds like Stewart clearly throttled the car. If so, and the result was to throw out the back end so it hit Ward, Stewart better have a very good explanation for why he throttled the car.

Sprint cars have no differential. Steering is done as much with the throttle as the steering wheel, especially at lower speeds and where you are on the dirt track.

If Stewart blipped the throttle is was much more likely in an attempt go avoid Ward, not to hit him. Furthermore, Stewart didn't cause Ward's crash and likely had no idea Ward had crashed (sprint cars have no rear view mirrors and sprint races disallow spotters or any radio communication.) Stewart likely had no idea who the person on the track even was.

Joe said...

Another point is that apparently Stewart likes taking a high line in Sprint Car races, or at least in races on this track.

I posit that Ward assumed that Stewart was on the low line and inadvertently put himself directly in the way of Stewart. Stewart tried to avoid him, but ended up catching him with his rear wheel. Had Stewart done nothing, he probably would have hit Ward head on and killed him.

Bottom line is that Ward caused his own death. It was his rage, not Stewart's, that caused his death.

Joe said...

On another site, a commenter pointed out that Stewart also may have been on a higher line to avoid the mud while removing a tear off (plastic visor coverings which drivers remove to return to a clear visor.)

jim murray said...

Who knows? Car racing is dumb and walking on an active track is dumber.

Tank said...

sane_voter said...

Although the kid was stupid to walk out on the track, Stewart looked like he was driving faster than the other cars at that point and did goose his engine as he approached Ward, something none of the other drivers did as they passed


Looks to me like he's driving exactly as fast as the car in front of him. From the line they took, it looks like Stewart's vision might have been obstructed by the car in front of him so that he could not see Ward (at night, badly lit, dressed in all black) until just before impact.

I haven't raced these cars, but accelerating through the turn may be exactly the technique used to drift around the corner.

The comments of some above, who are sure that Stewart did this intentionally, are reckless at best.

BrianE said...

Depending on the rules of the series or track, you might still be racing after a yellow is thrown.
At my home track racing to the yellow was the rule-- you continued to race until the yellow flag.
Even after a yellow, you are allowed to catch the car ahead of you-- you just can't pass, so those folks that say Stewart was still going to fast are wrong.
A lot of comments from people supposedly at the track think Stewart was trying to intimidate Ward.
I don't know and the video I saw, at the angle it was shot at doesn't show that, IMO.

Fen said...

The Crack Emcee: Anyone want to explain why people think this was professional road rage of kind?

Sure, Ward was dressed all in black, and NASCAR people hate blacks, so Stewart's rage was due to his inherent racism.

[this is how stupid you look when you insert racism into everything]

jr565 said...

It looks a bit like he swerves to hit him. But from what I hear about these cars' when you speed up the cars sometimes swerve themselves. And so he might have been clipped by the back wheel as it shifted right.
One driver suggested thst what Robbins was trying to do was shoot gravel in his face to warn him off as race car drivers often do. Only the car rear wheels shifted in such a way as to drag him under. So I certainly don't think he intended to hit him. But maybe to scare him a bit.

richardsson said...

I guess prior to this clip there was a collision where Stewart hit Ward, which wrecked Ward's car and took him out of the race. Ward became so enraged that he lost his senses and tried to ---grandstand --- Stewart.
Did Stewart take any action to deliberately hit Ward? Under the circumstances, I think that would be very hard to prove, even if true. Most reasonable people would conclude that Ward should have stayed next to the fence and waited for the track crew to pick him up and then lodge a formal complaint afterwards. Auto racing is not professional wrestling, as we could see.
As for a Darwin award, I don't know. I was once young and stupid. I was also lucky.

Jason said...

Oh, goodie. An ignorant libtard who thinks Saddam "protected" Yazidis and supported the colossal waste of Stimulus and Obamacare and Cash For Clunkers thinks an industry that provides jobs for tens of thousands of Americans is a waste of gas.

Hey, garage! What's your favorite window flavor, dumbass?

Pat Hill said...

Very bad decision on Wards part. Anger got the better of him. I don't think he was hit on purpose at all. A lot of people don't understand Sprint cars don't turn or stop like a regular car. The RR tire is nearly 2 feet wide. Absulutly no time to react. He did try to throttle it around him but was just too late.

Jo Bu said...

Stewart will be guilty of manslaughter (not murder). Here are the two facts which will lead to his guilty verdict.

1) Every fan in attendance will testify the #14 car 'throttled' his sprinter in turn 2 under caution (for those of us who have seen these races live, if one sprinter is throttling, everyone knows who it is).

2) Not a single professional race car driver (in the World of Outlaws or in NASCAR) will testify there is an appropriate scenario in which a drive should 'throttle' his\her 360 Big Wing sprinter under caution.

Hagar said...

Looks like the media and some commenters hereon are getting ready for a lynching.

It has been 50 years and more since I watched 1/4 mile dirt-track racing, but if Ward's car was not on fire, he had no business getting out of it, and if he did, he should have gone for the fence; not out on the track.

TC said...

No matter what the criminal actions will be, no matter that Ward should not have gotten out of his car and unto the track. Tony Stewart will have to look at himself in the mirror and live with what he did... He knows what he did no excuses!

Paul Ciotti said...

I must be seeing things on the tape. When I watched (over and over) it always looked to me like the rear end of Stewart's car (when he gunned it) swung away from Ward, not toward him. Yet all the commentators say the rear swung toward Ward. I don't know if I ought to believe the other commentators or me and my lying eyes.

traditionalguy said...

Note that the video we see was shot with a super open iris light catching lens so that the dark far turn action could be seen.

Human eyes only saw darkness past 20 feet.

BrianE said...

In case anyone is still following this, a comment from a car forum about the incident:

"Just because he got on the throttle while near the kid does not mean he intended to hit him, or "spook" him, or anything. This is a sprint car. Making it turn REQUIRES throttle. It's on a dirt track, with a 900hp short wheelbase car that barely turns properly until you get to like 80 mph.... The guy gets out of his wreck and starts randomly jumping around and running into traffic to angrily confront someone. Tony comes around oblivious to this and the guy runs right in front of his 900 hp barely controllable (at low speeds) monster. At the last second Tony notices and tries to avoid by making the car turn. And hits the guy. "Could" Tony have noticed if sooner, maybe he was checking his gauges or something? Sure. Could the lunatic who ran out on the track in front of a field of SPRINT CARS on DIRT have dealt with this shit in the pits later? Definitely. A terrible tragedy that shouldn't have happened."

I wouldn't rush to judgement either way on this incident.

aman said...

Srewart didn't mean to. When I went to a gocart track do not get out of the cart until all carts stop and they're going 30mph and they're 4ft tall. Now why would he even think about getting out when they're going 40-50 mph and the cars wheel is almost half the size as him.

Lorne Scheffer said...

Brian E...ur an idiot....do u not see the obvious mental challenge and struggle these two had unfold be for us....competition that turned stupid and ugly due to egos and road rage.
Ward made the ultimate mistake in rage of forgetting his environment and the bully Stewart came around the track and trying to intimidate him ultimately killed him in the same corner he crashed him in the lap before...Ward is dead under Rony Stewart's tire for a very sad reason....such a waste...stupid and discusting....vehicular homicide

BrianE said...

Lorne Scheffer-- I'm often stupid,but I don't think this is one of those times. From the perspective of the video, I don't think Stewart's car made contact with Ward's in the initial incident. That was a racing incident-- Ward just needed to back off.
As to the rest, here's Circle Track magazine's perspective...
"..The only thing we do know for sure is that Kevin Ward Jr. is dead, the result of getting hit by Stewart. Video footage shows Stewart’s sprint car accelerate at the moment of contact with Ward. Was he trying to scare the youngster? Teach him a lesson for getting out of the car and pointing a finger? Or was he trying to avoid him? Did Tony have that oh sh*t I’m going to hit this guy, moment? Nobody knows for sure and at this juncture the answers to all of those questions are purely a matter of conjecture, only Tony knows what happened inside his cockpit. In the coming days or weeks he will make an official statement. Until then we wait, left to debate the situation as a whole.
When tragedies happen it is human nature to want to assign blame. Those of us who have been behind the wheel in competition understand that emotions run high during the heat of battle. We also know that many short tracks in this country are dimly lit making seeing anything let alone a guy in a black firesuit and helmet running at you difficult. In racing bad things can happen, sometimes they are intentional, sometimes they are not..."

Read more: http://www.circletrack.com/news/weighing_in_on_the_tragedy_at_canandaigua/#ixzz3ABRwPQ5X

John Smith said...

Tony's career is over. Even if he's never convicted and or charged, this incident will destroy him.

eny7 said...

I think it's 50/50
TS is aggressive well known and documented
He just pinched off ward by drifting up into wards line
To say he didn't or did see ward on the track is tough
But ward was there jumping moving and waving his arm
The pit guys have radios and there was time to say ward is pissed in turn 2... Or whatever it's not like they weren't watching the track
Based off previous behaviors it's very conceivable that TS would be aggressive towards Wards gestures under caution
This isn't bill Elliot
Tonys car is already in a slide before impact
Ward is beginning to dodge up track before impact
I believe ts was showing he's the boss, running higher than the other cars did and intended to intimidate but not injure
There's all kinds of little gestures in racing that non racing folks don't realize or understand
To me Tony made a gesture that he will have to live with
But he's no murderer
Ward deserves 50% blame bc he lost his temper but this is common in racing and young guys have to show they are not scared
He got to far down and should of just thrown his helmet instead like tony does

john forrest said...

in my opinion , stewart gassed his car trying to sling dirt on the kid and misjudged . you can hear it a split second before he hit him. right rear kicked out and wound him up.not saying he meant to hit him or certainly not to kill him , but his actions cost the boy his life.sure , he should have stayed in his car , but its a scene repeated over and over as drivers bail out to express their displeasure at the guy that spun them. Stewart has been guilty of doing the same thing many times.its a shame and the saddest part is stewart will get away with it scott free.

Savanna Branson said...

Tony Stewart cleared him, then Kevin Ward Jr. grabbed the wing of the car and held on. He fell off and the back tire ran him over. You can clearly see that if it's slowed down.

Jared Morales said...

Sorry to Say this but, Kevin Ward's actions warranted his fate. Stupid , Stupid , and more stupid.

John said...

Savannah,

Interesting comment about Ward grabbing the wing. I went to YouTube to look for more footage, perhaps from a different angle.

I found the one video that we all have seen but slowed way down. You are right. It is pretty clear that Ward was grabbing the wing and fell.

No idea what he thought he was going to do, hang on with one hand and bang on Stewarts helmet with the other? It is pretty clear, though when you look at it frame by frame. This is slowed 500% then 1000%

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtj0OqzANCI

Another one, not frame by frame but a bit better quality.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XvhrPu64Co

John Henry

svet somerville said...

It's very simple:

Kevin ran into stewart get real!

Why did stewart not see how Kevin was doing after he struck him?

you don't need all these videos
to know it was a hit and run!

where there is smoke there's fire

buellsgirl said...

Tony Stewart is known for "tapping" other drivers, even though I don't follow NASCAR, I do believe he has gotten in trouble for these type of actions. Shouldn't the other cars have been slowing down & going to the inside of track after the accident? Especially considering the paramedics were already on the track? Maybe it wasn't intentional, but he has a history of being a dick while racing. Because he's a "celebrity" he should be charged criminally & made an example. It is NOTHING BUT BULLSHIT THAT CELEBRITIES GET A SLAP ON THE WRIST FOR THEIR CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES. IF IT WAS ONE OF US LOWLY UNFAMOUS MF'S, WE WOULD GET PRISON TIME. THESE SO CALLED CELEBRITIES WALK AWAY TO DO IT AGAIN OR END UP IN A COUNTRY CLUB. START MAKING THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.