(UNDATED) - 20-year-old Sprint car driver Kevin Ward was fatally hit by NASCAR legend Tony Stewart as he was walking toward Stewart's car.
A lap earlier, Stewart bumped Ward's car, causing him to spin out. Ward walked across the dirt track, waving his hands and pointing at Stewart when he was sent careening a bit down the track by Stewart's car.
The President of the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans fan club is Bob Black. He says the act of getting out of your race car and waving your hands and fingers at an offending driver is rather typical. But it's also dangerous. And to make matters worse, Kevin Ward was wearing an all-black racing uniform, making it difficult to actually see him in the night-time race.
Black said it looked as if other drivers were swerving to avoid hitting Ward and that it appeared Stewart was trying to maneuver his car past Ward when the accident happened. To his credit, Black says, Stewart and his team decided it would not be "business and usual" and that Tony would not compete in Sunday night's Watkins Glen race.
Black speculated that once the reality of what had happened settled in on Tony Stewart, he realized going ahead with the race on Sunday would be disrespectful of Ward's family, and Steward pulled out of the competition.
The Ontario County sheriff says there is currently no evidence of "criminal intent" involving Tony Stewart in the on-track accident Saturday night.
Ontario County Sheriff Philip C. Povero said the Indiana native has been cooperating with the ongoing investigation and that there is no evidence that Stewart purposely tried to hurt Kevin Ward Jr. during the sprint-car race.
While the accident is being investigated, it appears as if no charges would be filed against Stewart, and that he is cooperating fully with the investigation.
In Tony Stewart's hometown of Columbus, Indiana, reactions were mixed - many residents are diehard fans of their hometown hero; others said they've never liked Stewart because of his bad temper.
Race fans also wonder whether the crash will end Stewart's hobby of racing on small tracks on the side of big-money NASCAR races. Stewart has long defended his participation in racing on tracks like the one where the crash happened, even as accidents and injury have put his day job in NASCAR at risk.
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