Nascar Driver Tony Stewart Will Not Race Today After Yesterday’s Fatal Accident

Stewart will be replaced by Regan Smith.

On Saturday night (August 9) Nascar driver Tony Stewart struck and killed another driver at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York. Videos of the crash (warning: the videos are graphic) show Stewart hitting fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. after Ward left his vehicle to confront Stewart on the track.

On the previous lap, Stewart’s car hit Ward’s vehicle, so Ward got out of his car on the track and tried to approach Stewart’s car when it came back around the track. AP reports that Ward Jr. was to the right of Stewart’s car, and that the car kicked back to hit him. Emergency personnel immediately reached Ward, 20, and he was taken to the Canandaigua hospital where he was pronounced dead that night.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero and other authorities said Stewart was “fully cooperative” and “visibly shaken.” There are no plans to press criminal charges at this time, in fact, Stewart was slated to race today at Watkins Glen, one of the five possible races left to determine if he earns a spot in the Nascar championships.

Stewart, 42, only returned to racing last month after almost a year following a broken leg injury he sustained in a crash in Iowa. He was also previously involved in an accident on the same track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in July of 2013 that seriously injured 19-year-old driver Alysha Ruggles. Stewart took responsibility for the crash, which caused Ruggles a compression fracture in her back following the fifteen car pile up.

Is it ethical for Stewart to continue racing after such a tragic accident? At first Nascar officials seem to have no problem with his continued participation in today’s race. But just minutes ago, they announced a replacement driver for Stewart.

AP reports the director of Stewart-Haas Racing, Greg Zipadelli, relayed that Stewart “feels strongly” that he shouldn’t race today. Our thoughts are with all parties involved in this tragic accident.