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Kevin Ward Jr. was under influence of marijuana when Tony Stewart hit and killed him

Kevin Ward Jr driver

A grand jury ruled on Wednesday that Tony Stewart will not be charged in the death of Kevin Ward Jr. One of the reasons Stewart will not face charges could be that Ward was reportedly under the influence of marijuana the night Stewart hit and killed him.

According to The Associated Press, District Attorney Michael Tantillo said Ward was under the influence of marijuana “enough to impair judgment.”

[Related: Kevin Ward's friend doesn't think Tony Stewart hit Ward intentionally]

After looking at video from the incident and several photos from spectators, authorities determined that the front of Stewart’s car cleared Ward and that it was the rear tire that struck him. While Ward’s father implied last month that he believes Stewart intentionally hit his son, investigators apparently disagreed.

The revelation that Ward was under the influence of marijuana is a bizarre twist in a tragic story. While we have no way of knowing if drug use played a role in Ward’s decision to exit his vehicle and charge toward Stewart, the thought of someone smoking weed before driving a car at those speeds is pretty alarming.

Kevin Ward Jr’s dad: Apparently Tony Stewart was the only one who didn’t see my son

Kevin-Ward-JrKevin Ward Sr. spoke publicly on Tuesday for the first time since his son Kevin Ward Jr.’s death last weekend. While Ward Sr. made it clear that he is angry over his son being hit and killed by Tony Stewart, he was sure to point out that he wants Ward Jr. to be remembered in a positive light.

“He was just a very God-gifted kid,” Ward told Charley Hannagan of the Syracuse Post-Standard. “I think he slept with a smile on his face.”

He didn’t leave it at that. Ward did not seem convinced that Stewart did everything he could to avoid hitting his son. He noted that all of the drivers moved to the bottom of the track when the caution flag came out, except for one.

[Graphic Video: Kevin Ward Jr. hit and killed by Tony Stewart]

“Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn’t see him,” Ward said.

All the footage we have seen is inconclusive. Ward Jr. definitely walked toward the bottom of the track to make a gesture toward Stewart, and it’s hard to tell how much of an effort Stewart made to turn his car out of the way. Regardless of that, Ward Sr. felt his son had every right to be angry.

“I think the reason he probably got out of that car is who put him into the wall,” he said. “He was definitely put into the wall. Tony Stewart was the best damn driver by far on the track that night. Why he had to go up as high as he did and hog my son, there’s no reason for it.

“The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?”

No charges are currently pending against Stewart, but that does not mean he is out of the woods.

Also see: Kevin Ward Jr.’s aunt calls Tony Stewart a ‘dick’

Kevin Ward’s aunt calls Tony Stewart a ‘dick’

Kevin Ward Jr driver

Tony Stewart has long been known for his temper. That does not mean he intentionally hit and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. on Saturday night, but it does mean there were already a lot of people who don’t like Stewart. Not surprisingly, Ward’s aunt seems like one of them.

Wendi Ward wrote a heartfelt message on Facebook over the weekend in which she had some not-so-nice things to say about Stewart.

Wendi-Ward-Facebook

A few hours before Stewart decided to withdraw from Watkins Glen, the three-time Sprint Cup champion’s team said Sunday’s race would be “business as usual.” That really rubbed people the wrong way and came off as extremely insensitive toward Ward’s family and friends.

The situation is a tragedy no matter how you look at it. There are currently no charges pending against Stewart, but that could change after a more thorough investigation.

H/T With Leather

Kevin Ward’s friend Tyler Graves does not think Tony Stewart did it intentionally

Kevin Ward Jr award

Tyler Graves, a friend of Kevin Ward Jr. (pictured) who witnessed Saturday’s fatal incident, says he does not think Tony Stewart hit Ward intentionally, though he believes Stewart should be put in jail forever.

Graves spoke with Sporting News racing reporter Bob Pockrass and described what he saw at the Empire Super Sprints race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

“Tony pinched him into the frontstretch wall, a racing thing,” Graves told Sporting News. “The right rear tire went down, he spun on the exit of (Turn) 2. They threw the caution and everything was toned down. Kevin got out of his car. … He was throwing his arms up all over the place at Tony for most of the corner.

“I know Tony could see him. I know how you can see out of these cars. When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle. When you hit a throttle on a sprint car, the car sets sideways. It set sideways, the right rear tire hit Kevin, Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under it for a second or two and then it threw him about 50 yards.”

Ward was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Though police are investigating the incident, they have not charged Stewart with a crime.

Graves, who is also a race-car driver, told Pockrass he did not think Stewart did it intentionally.

Graves said it appeared to him that Stewart swerved before gunning the engine but he did not believe it was intentional.

“You never mean to do something like that,” Graves said. “Kevin was pissed and he let Tony know. And Tony was trying to give the message back that he wasn’t happy either. He went over the line with it.”

Graves did tell Pockrass he does not think Stewart should be racing and that Stewart should be “put in prison for life.”

Stewart is scheduled to start 13th in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen.

Kevin Ward dies from injuries after being hit by Tony Stewart

Kevin Ward Jr

Kevin Ward Jr. died from injuries sustained after being hit by Tony Stewart during the Empire Super Sprints race at Motorsports Park on Saturday night in New York.

Ward and Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion, got into a collision that knocked the 20-year-old racer out of the race. Ward was so upset he got out of his car and began pointing and gesturing wildly at Stewart.

Stewart ended up hitting Ward — one witness believes it was accidental — and the injuries were enough to kill the young man.

[Also see- Friend and witness Tyler Graves does not think Stewart did it on purpose]

Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero said in a press conference that Ward died at 11:15 p.m. The incident took place at 10:30 p.m.

Stewart is being investigated for a crime and has been cooperative. He is not currently being charged.

Here are some quotes from Povero via WROC-TV reporter Prescott Rossi:

“This is an ongoing investigation of an on-track crash. Mr. Stewart has been fully cooperative… He is very upset and confirmed his contiunuing cooperation. People that witnessed it were horrified. They were extremely shocked.. The people at Canandaigua Motorsports have cooperated fully.”

Kevin Ward Jr driver

Video from the incident is here but be warned that it is disturbing.

Tony Stewart hits Kevin Ward after collision (Video)

Tony Stewart hit fellow driver Kevin Ward during a dirt-track race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night after Ward got out of his car following a collision between the two drivers.

Video shows Stewart and Ward making contact with each other and Ward spinning out of the Empire Super Sprints series race. Ward was so upset he got out of his No. 13 car and began pointing at Stewart, who continued around the track as a caution had come out.

Tony Stewart Kevin Ward

Stewart’s No. 14 car then approached Ward and began turning sideways. Ward appeared to get caught under the right rear tire, dragged and thrown.

Racing was cancelled after the incident, which has left Ward in a life-threatening condition.

Tyler Graves, a sprint-car racer and friend of Ward’s, was a witness to the event and told Sporting News what he saw.

“Tony pinched him into the frontstretch wall, a racing thing,” Graves said. “The right rear tire went down, he spun on the exit of (Turn) 2. They threw the caution and everything was toned down. Kevin got out of his car. … He was throwing his arms up all over the place at Tony for most of the corner.

“I know Tony could see him. I know how you can see out of these cars. When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle. When you hit a throttle on a sprint car, the car sets sideways. It set sideways, the right rear tire hit Kevin, Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under it for a second or two and then it threw him about 50 yards.”

Graves said he did not believe it was intentional.

“You never mean to do something like that,” Graves said. “Kevin was pissed and he let Tony know. And Tony was trying to give the message back that he wasn’t happy either. He went over the line with it.”

We are praying for Ward.

Video is below.

Tony Stewart wants Danica Patrick to cram it up Richard Petty’s butt

danica-patrickTony Stewart has a plan for how Danica Patrick can prove Richard Petty wrong. Last week, the man known to many as the “King of NASCAR” said the only way Patrick will ever win a race is if she’s the only one on the track. Stewart, who is Patrick’s employer and teammate with Stewart-Haas racing, thinks Danica should challenge the old man.

“I think that (a race) would settle it once and for all — maybe get him to shut up a little bit, too,” Stewart said Wednesday, via USA Today Sports. “… I will supply the cars. If he wants to race her, I’ll make sure they have exactly the same setup in the car and give him the chance. He can drive one of my 14 cars, I don’t care.”

When someone joked that Patrick should take the checkered flag to Petty for an autograph after beating him, Stewart said he had a better plan.

“If I were her, I’d take if over there and cram it up his (butt),” he said. “But that’s just me.”

Stewart also said that the 76-year-old Petty underestimates how much NASCAR has changed since he raced and that it is much harder to win now than it was 40 years ago. Patrick has one top-10 finish in her career. She did not take the bait when asked about Petty’s criticism last week.

“People have said things in the past, they’re going to say things in the future,” Patrick said. “I still say the same thing: Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. People will judge what he said, whether they judge it well or not, and I’m just not going to (judge).

“The people that matter the most to me are my team, my sponsors and those little 3-year-old kids that run up to you and want a great big hug and say they want to grow up to be like you. That’s the stuff I really focus on.”

Make it happen. Who wouldn’t watch that race? I bet even people who hate NASCAR would tune in.