UPDATE: NASCAR champion Tony Stewart hits, kills young driver at New York dirt track
NASCAR driver Tony Stewart hit and killed a young driver while racing on a dirt track at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York on Saturday night. Kevin Ward Jr., 20, died from serious injuries sustained on-site.
"Ward's sprint car hit the outside wall during lap 14 of a 25-lap race, Ontario County Sheriff Philip C. Povero said," reports CNN. "A video of the incident shows Ward out of his crashed car, walking on the track toward the race cars, which had slowed for a yellow flag. Ward points a finger and appears to be yelling. One car swerves to avoid Ward on the track."
According to CNN, "Stewart's car passes close to Ward, and it appears that its right rear tire hits him."
"Stewart is a three-time champion in NASCAR's top division and also won a sprint car championship in 1995," CNN further reports.
Stewart was expected to race at the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International track on Sunday, but it was announced prior to start time that he would not appear. Earlier in the morning, however, his team told reporters that despite the accident, Stewart was running "business as usual," reports USA Today.
According to USA Today, Greg Zipadelli, vice president of Stewart-Haas Racing, now says, "He [Stewart] feels strongly this [not racing] is the right thing to do. We at SHR support it and agree with it. It's a difficult time for both parties. This is what we feel is right and we're supporting Tony in it."
NASCAR driver Regan Smith will instead start in Stewart's place.
The accidnt is currently under police investigation. No charges have yet been filed.