Tony Stewart says he revved engine before fatal crash to try to avoid driver
NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart hit and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a 2014 race after Ward got out of his car on the track.
Stewart, who has since retired, was not charged criminally, but Ward’s family is suing, and court documents in the case have been released.
Stewart was racing with Ward during an Empire Super Sprint series event at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York when Ward’s car spun out. The 20-year-old driver jumped from his car, stormed down the track and was hit by Stewart’s car.
The lawsuit contends that Stewart hit the accelerator as he drove past Ward, causing the car to slide and hit him. There was toxicology evidence that Ward was under the influence of marijuana at the time.
Documents have been submitted to the court, according to NewYorkUpstate.com, which has highlighted Stewart’s answer to allegations he drove toward Ward on purpose:
During the nighttime feature race, Ward spun out after Stewart crowded him into the barrier during a “slide job” on Lap 14 of the 25-lap race. Stewart called the maneuver “very common” and maintained he never hit Ward’s car. Ward then got out of his wrecked car and walked toward Stewart’s car on the track.
Stewart: I realized he was running down the racetrack toward me.
Question: Okay. For what purpose did you apply throttle to your car?
Stewart: To try to drive the car down to the left to get away from him.
Question: And was that immediately prior to the impact between him and your car?
But Ward’s family believes Stewart was trying to drive at him.
Question: And if you apply throttle in that situation and steer to the left, isn’t the back of your car going to slide to the right?
Stewart: It did in that scenario, yes.