Tony Stewart dodged a bullet this week but that was just the first of a few shots that will be fired his way in the coming months. A grand jury in upstate New York found that there was not enough evidence to warrant charges against Stewart in the death of dirt track racer Kevin Ward, Jr.
The way I see it, the grand jury came to this conclusion for two reasons; first, it was going to be nearly impossible to prove that Stewart acted with malice or intent when his car struck Ward and sent him flying to his death.
There is only one person that knows whether Stewart intended to “scare” the young driver or not and that’s Stewart himself. It’s my contention that this is what happened. Stewart saw the youngster pointing at him and figured he’d give him a little scare by swinging the back end around just a tad.
The second reason why the grand jury decided not to proceed was because Kevin Ward, Jr’s autopsy revealed that he had very high levels of marijuana in his system. Any testimony would surely state that Ward was not in his right mind and this could have impacted his poor decision to exit his vehicle.
These two factors mean it would have been very difficult for the prosecution to get a conviction so it’s probably the right move.
My feelings on the incident have not changed since I saw the first replay. I have no doubt in my mind that Tony Stewart was trying to send the kid a message and the car got away from him. By nature, these sprint cars will drift to the outside and that’s exactly what happened here.
Stewart let the car drift thinking that Ward would get out of the way but this didn’t happen.
If you follow NASCAR or the career of Tony Stewart then you know why the account I choose to believe is possible. Stewart is a classic hot-head who has rammed opponents on pit row, bumped them from behind on the track and thrown helmets at them.
He’s even gotten himself into some fist-a-cuffs a time or two at the track. Stewart is the classic “don’t question my manhood” race car driver. This is exactly why he put Ward, Jr into the wall and why he was trying to put a scare into him when he came back around.
Yesterday Stewart said, “I know 100 percent in my heart and in my mind that I did not do anything wrong. This was 100 percent an accident,” Stewart said. I agree that it was indeed an accidental death but I’ll never buy the theory that Stewart suddenly didn’t know how to drive one of these cars and had no idea Ward was that close.
For the record, the Ward Family isn’t buying it either. They believe that Stewart was the only racer still accelerating during the caution while other drivers had slowed down. Some of that belief comes from a second video that has not been seen by the public.
I expect the family to sue Stewart in civil court but I honestly don’t think it will get there. More than likely Stewart and the Ward Family will come to a financial settlement away from the courts.
The family cannot hide from the fact however that their son was high on marijuana at the time of his death. He was not only putting himself in harm’s way but he was also putting the lives of other drivers at risk as well.