What’s next for Tony Stewart? Not even Stewart knows his fate yet but he should by the end of the week. The NASCAR Sprint Cup driver ran under the media radar this past weekend during the races at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.
Word came towards the end of the week that the investigation into Kevin Ward Jr’s death had come to a close and the case information had been turned over to the District Attorney. According to reports this is standard practice in any investigation and nothing should be read into it.
On Thursday the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, in New York State, announced that it had completed the investigation and forwarded its report of the August 9 incident at an upstate New York dirt track to the D.A.’s office. The immediate question over the weekend was if Stewart would make a statement or if he would appear in front of the media.
He didn’t, as he did with the situation following the wreck that killed Ward, the NASCAR driver kept his emotions to himself and did his job. One thing was clear to those in attendance at the speedway. When Stewart was announced during driver introductions he was given a solid round of applause.
The Fatal Event
The investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr. started shortly after the death of the driver when he was struck by a dirt track race car driven by Tony Stewart. The race was not associated with NASCAR and Stewart was taking part in the local event as he does with dirt track races across the country. Following an on track incident Ward’s car hit the wall. The young driver exited his car and started walking across the track while cars were still zipping by.
Ward was apparently making an effort to confront Stewart as he drove by. It’s a common practice in all forms of racing and Stewart has been known to do the same thing. Generally the mad driver will offer a finger or hand gesture or toss a piece of equipment. The helmet seems to be a favorite projectile by many drivers. In this case everything went wrong.
Ward was killed when he was struck by Stewart’s passing car. He was officially pronounced dead shortly after being transported to a local hospital. The event was quickly put under investigation by the local sheriff’s department as video soon surfaced which was placed on sites such as youtube.com.
Stewart quickly disappeared from the public eye following the death of Ward but was cooperating fully with the investigation according to the Sheriff’s Department. He released a short statement through his team, Stewart – Hass Racing, and missed three races.
"There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It's a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I've decided not to participate in today's race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy."
With the case being turned over to the DA's office the future for Tony Stewart will soon be known. He could be exonerated of fault or the DA could seek charges against the driver. That question will be answered soon.