20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. had just hit the outside wall after racing with Stewart, he then exited his car and ran down the track during the caution. He appeared to be pointing directly at Tony Stewart's car when suddenly he was struck, hurled approximately 50 feet and came to rest near the top of the dirt-tracks incline.
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"A tragic accident took place last night during a sprint car race in which Tony Stewart was participating. Tony was unhurt, but a fellow competitor lost his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We're still attempting to sort through all the details and we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time," a Stewart Racing Spokesman said.
Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero says the investigation into this incident is not criminal and that Stewart has been fully cooperative with the police thus far.
"This is an ongoing investigation of an on-track crash," Povero said. "Next is continuing interviews, a continued evaluation of evidence we have, including video, and there is certainly going to be an evaluation of medical evidence when it is collected from the autopsy."
Despite the tragedy and his involvement, a manager for Stewart-Haas Racing says Stewart will return to the track on Sunday, where he's scheduled to start 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International.
"We're business as usual today," Greg Zipadelli, Stewart-Haas Racing competition director, told USA TODAY Sports.
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Tags: Kevin Ward Jr., Motorsports, NASCAR, Tony Stewart