TIME Auto Racing

Tony Stewart Not Charged in the Death of Kevin Ward Jr.

Tony Stewart
NASCAR driver Tony Stewart (14) looks out from his garage during a practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. on Sept. 13, 2014. Paul J. Bergstrom—AP

On Wednesday, a grand jury in upstate New York decided that criminal charges would not be brought against Tony Stewart in the death of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr.​

During an Aug. 9 sprint car race, Stewart’s car hit Ward after Ward got out of his car and walked onto the track to confront Stewart.

Ontario County (N.Y.) District Attorney Michael Tantillo said that Ward was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash, which was enough to impair his judgment.

On Sept. 16, Tantillo said he would present evidence from the police investigation of the incident to a grand jury.

Tantillo held a news conference on Wednesday to reveal that findings of the investigation.

According to the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat & Chronicle, Chuck Hebing, who was driving in the race where Ward was hit, was called to testify about the accident.

Stewart did not participate in the three Sprint Cup Series races after Ward’s death but has raced in the last four.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME

Grand Jury to Weigh Case of NASCAR’s Tony Stewart

(CANANDAIGUA, N.Y.) — A grand jury will decide whether NASCAR driver Tony Stewart will be charged in the August death of a fellow driver at a sprint car race in upstate New York.

Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo said Tuesday that after reviewing evidence collected by sheriff’s investigators, he has decided to present it to a grand jury. Tantillo could have determined there was not enough evidence to support charges and dropped the case.

Stewart’s car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. at a dirt-track race in Canandaigua on Aug. 9. The 20-year-old had climbed from his car after it had spun while racing alongside Stewart.

Stewart issued a statement saying he looks forward to the process being completed and will continue to cooperate.

TIME

Formula E Electric Motor Racing Debuts With Spectacular Crash

Driver Nick Heidfeld was uninjured in the dramatic rollover, while Lucas Di Grassi emerged victorious

The first-ever Formula E electric car race ended in Beijing Saturday with a thrilling crash as motorists dueled for a place in automotive history.

Germany’s Nick Heidfeld and France’s Nicolas Prost raced for the lead on the final lap of the race when a slight nudge between their cars sent Heidfeld skidding into a tire barrier, landing upside down. The crash allowed Audi Sport’s Lucas Di Grassi to emerge victorious.

“I would not have expected for him to have attempted a suicide move at the end of the race,” Prost said, according to the BBC. Heidfeld was uninjured.

Formula E races are one hour long, with vehicles reaching speeds of about 150 miles per hour — much slower than 220 mph achieved by Formula One racers. Music plays at the track and drivers have to change vehicles halfway through the race when their first battery runs out. The season is 10-races long and will finish this year in London’s Battersea Park next June.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Richard Branson each back Formula E teams.

The next Formula E race is in Malaysia on November 22.

See the full clip here.

[BBC]

 

TIME Auto Racing

NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart: Deadly Incident Will ‘Affect My Life Forever’

Oral-B USA 500 - Practice
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, speaks to the media prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. Jamie Squire—Getty Images

Nascar champion Tony Stewart's car struck his fellow racer on Aug. 9

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart said Friday he remains heartbroken after he hit and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward in a racing crash three weeks ago. The comments come as Stewart, a champion driver, prepares to race again for the first time since the tragedy.

“I’ve taken the last couple of weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way,” Stewart said. “It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team, my teammates and I miss being back in the race car and I think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.”

The incident, which occurred in a sprint car race in upstate New York earlier this month, shocked the racing world. Stewart’s car struck 20-year-old Kevin Ward, Jr. as Ward walked on the tarmac of the race track, apparently trying to flag down Stewart after a collision between the two drivers.

Stewart did not take questions at the Friday press conference, citing an ongoing police investigation of the incident.

 

TIME Auto Racing

Stewart to Return to Competition Sunday

Tony Stewart will return to Sprint Cup competition Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, ending a three-race hiatus after his car struck and killed a fellow driver during a dirt-track race.

The three-time NASCAR champion has not raced since Aug. 9, when he hit Kevin Ward Jr. at a sprint car event in upstate New York.

Stewart hastily pulled out of the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen the next morning, then skipped races at Michigan and Bristol Motor Speedway.

Stewart has been in seclusion since Ward’s death. He returns to his No. 14 Chevrolet at Atlanta ranked 26th in the Sprint Cup standings.

TIME Auto Racing

Tony Stewart to Miss Third Consecutive NASCAR Race

Tony Stewart stands in the garage area after a practice session for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Watkins Glen International, in Watkins Glen, N.Y on August 8, 2014.
Tony Stewart stands in the garage area after a practice session for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Watkins Glen International, in Watkins Glen, N.Y on August 8, 2014. Derik Hamilton—AP

Since his car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in upstate New York on August 9

Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart will not participate in this weekend’s Bristol Motor Speedway, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Wednesday, marking the third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup race he has missed since his car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in upstate New York on August 9.

Stewart could face criminal charges for Ward’s death, who had exited his vehicle after Stewart clipped his car and sent it crashing into the wall. After exiting his car, Ward wandered onto the track and tried to flag down Stewart, but was struck by Stewart’s fast-moving vehicle as the driver lapped back around.

Jeff Burton will replace Stewart for the second straight week. Burton took the number 14 car for Saturday’s Michigan International Speedway race.

NASCAR announced new rules on Friday to protect the safety of its drivers, requiring that “at no time” should a driver or crew member approach another moving vehicle or the racing surface after an on-track incident that prohibits the car from moving forward.

TIME Auto Racing

NASCAR Changes Safety Rules After Driver’s Death

Cheez-It 355 At The Glen
Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, driven by Regan Smith, is pushed to the grid with police escort prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 10, 2014 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Jeff Zelevansky—Getty Images

In the wake of Kevin Ward Jr's death

NASCAR announced new rules Friday to protect the safety of its drivers, a day after the funeral of Kevin Ward Jr., the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver struck and killed by Tony Stewart’s car during a race this month.

The new rules state that “at no time” should a driver or crew member approach another moving vehicle or the racing surface after an on track incident that prohibits the car from moving forward. The driver must then proceed as directed by safety officers and other cars “should slow down to a cautious speed” as already outlined by Nascar’s “Yellow Flag” rules. Nascar said it would handle potential penalties for infractions on a case by case basis.

Stewart could face criminal charges after striking Ward, who left his vehicle after it was clipped by Stewart’s car, sending his car crashing into the wall. Stewart has decided to not participate in Sunday’s Michigan International Speedway race as scheduled.

TIME NASCAR

Tony Stewart Hits and Kills Driver in Sprint Car Race

20-year-old Kevin Ward exited his car during a race, and Stewart struck him on the track

Updated 2:40 p.m.

NASCAR star Tony Stewart struck and killed 20-year-old race car driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race Saturday night.

Stewart spun Ward out during the Canandaigua Motorsports Park sprint car race in upstate New York on Saturday and Ward angrily got out of his car and stepped into the track. Stewart’s vehicle struck Ward and sent him sliding down the cement, witnesses to the race told USA Today.

Ward was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

Local police said that the 43-year-old Stewart was “fully cooperative,” and that the incident was not being investigated as a criminal matter. Police are gathering interviews and video evidence of the incident, and are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Stewart released a statement through his racing team Stewart-Haas Racing, NBC reports.

“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,” he said. “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.”

A video uploaded on YouTube purports to show the incident. (Warning: it’s disturbing.)

Early eyewitness accounts corroborate the video. When Stewart’s car struck him, Ward had exited his car and was pointing at Stewart’s car as he approached on the ensuing caution lap, witnesses said.

“Tony came around … the back end slid out, and he definitely caught him – I couldn’t tell if it was with the front or the back of the car,” said witness Adam Dulski. “The body made contact with the car and went sliding across the track. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

Stewart had intended to compete in a NASCAR race on Sunday but pulled out early in the day, the Associated Press reports.

[USA Today]

TIME Auto Racing

The Indy 500: The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

Gentlemen, start your engines.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means pools are opining for the summer, families are firing up their grills and drivers are starting their engines for the greatest spectacle in racing: the Indy 500.

Indy car racers have gathered at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1911 to run the 500-miles-over-200-laps race with the hopes of taking the checkered flag. So sit down and pay attention, because TIME’s going to explain everything you need to know about the Indy 500 from the green flag to the victory milk swig. But don’t blink, because these cars move fast.

TIME Auto Racing

WATCH: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Fiery Crash in NASCAR’s Duck Commander 500

The driver earned his first last-place finish since 2007 as a result of the crash. Rival Joey Logano won the race in extra laps, edging out Jeff Gordon.

Famed NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. crashed during the Duck Commander 500 in Fort Worth, Texas on Monday after hitting a patch of wet grass and blowing out a tire. The race had already been postponed on Sunday due to poor weather conditions. The driver then drove into the outside wall and his No. 88 Chevrolet caught fire. As a result of the crash, Earnhardt Jr. was guaranteed to finish 43rd, his first last-place finish since 2007, the Associated Press reports. The driver was not hurt.

Joey Logano went on to win the race in a last-lap pass of rival Jeff Gordon.

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