Sprint car driver killed in collision during race

Updated: 
Kevin Ward Jr

A racing driver who collided with and killed a fellow competitor has spoken about the tragedy.

Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart collided with Kevin Ward Jr on Saturday night. The pair were racing in a sprint race in Canandaigua, New York, before crashing into each other.

Spectators witnessed Ward Jr get out of his crashed car and angrily walk towards Stewart's car – despite the race continuing under yellow flags. It was then Stewart collided with the 20-year old who was later pronounced dead.

A statement from Stewart issued on Sunday said: "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."

According the Daily Mail, a video uploaded to YouTube by a spectator appeared to show Stewart's car make contact with Ward Jn's car on turn two of the track. The 20-year old then angrily got out of his car and gesticulate to Stewart whilst standing in the middle of the track as the race was put into "caution" mode. It was then that Steward struck Ward Jr throwing the driver into the air.

Medical crews were quick on the scene and it is reported that officers from the Ontario County Sheriff's Department are investigating the incident but do not see it as a criminal matter. County Sheriff Philip Povero said the three-time champion was 'visibly shaken' and had fully cooperated in the investigation.

The two drivers were taking part in the Empire Super Sprint race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park and were competing in sprint cars. Typically powered by a V8 engine, the cars can develop power outputs of 900bhp to 1,100bhp and can reach speeds in excess of 140mph.