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Racetrack owner on fatal incident: ‘I can’t see that anybody would’ve done anything intentional like that’

Aug 10, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT

The Associated Press late Sunday morning released a quote via Twitter from Chuck Miller, president and race director of Canandaigua Speedway, the site of the tragic incident Saturday night where sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. lost his life, released a statement Sunday morning.

Per AP’s Jenna Fryer, Miller in-part said the following:

“I can’t see that anybody would’ve done anything intentional like that. (Tony Stewart‘s) been great when he’s with us. We’ve had a very good relationship with Tony. We’ve been proud to have him in our field. He’s raced hard. He’s raced clean. He respects what we have to offer. Even what he is, when he comes to our races, he’s there to race. He’s not under contract to some of these tracks, he just shows up.”

The racetrack’s Facebook page appears to have temporarily been shut down. A secondary Facebook account appears to still be operating, but there is no timeline on that page, however.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. lowtalker - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    The track owner says that because Stewart lines his pockets. is Stewart really that bad of a driver that he could not avoid that guy?

    • jrandl - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD JUMP OUT OF HIS RACE CAR, AND WALK OUT IN FRONT OF ANOTHER CAR SHAKING HIS FIST. ROAD RAGE GOT HIM KILLED NOT STEWART.

      • worknman24hours - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:38 PM

        You left out -run in front of a MOVING RACE CAR AND TRY TO GRAB AT THE DRIVER.

      • abninf - Aug 11, 2014 at 7:02 AM

        You left out ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD BLIP THE THROTTLE ON AN 850 HORESEPOWER RACE CAR ON THE DIRT WHILE PASSING BY A STANDING PERSON. Ward didn’t try to “grab” a race car as it was passing him and he didn’t dive under it to commit suicide.

      • bwillyc - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:17 AM

        The camera shot was from across the track. The throttle sound was probably a car near the camera. It certainly didn’t pick up Stewarts car.

      • abninf - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:11 AM

        The “throttle sound” was Stewarts car. You know, the one that fishtailed into Ward in the same instant that you heard the “throttle sound”. That’s not even debatable.

    • les49er - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Obviously you don’t really know anything about sprint car racing so why are you commenting?

    • childofsea - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      Well, your ID is “low talker”, so your comments tracks. You can’t get much lower than that! My guess is you are one of those people who knows nothing on a topic, but likes to make inflammatory comments! Tony is a lot of things to different people, BUT he is not a killer. When you are driving that fast on a dirt track at night, your eyes are on the track and the cars in front of you. I don’t believe he knew the kid got out of his car. They don’t have spotters and car radio communication like in NASCAR. Tony was looking where he should be looking and very unfortunate that the kid walked toward him on the track!

    • rickditka - Aug 10, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      So, some of you are going to say that you dont hear Stewart hit the gas as he gets to gets to the victim? He tried to scare him, instead he killed the man.

      • benross1971 - Aug 10, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        It is truly amazing that everyone who honestly thinks that’s Tony Stewart tried to intentionally try to injury much less cause someone to lose their live need to leave their computers and look for something else to do. I have seen this video numerous times and heard a few cars going by so do not even begin to think you heard Stewart’s car. Unless, your hearing is just that good then don’t even bother explaining anything. Regardless, a man lost his life” a family lost a son, and racing lost a competitor. Prayers go out to the Kevin Ward family and to Tony Stewart as well. 2 families and friends are dealing with this tragedy but leave to the masses to kick people while their down, because their are only 2 people who really know what happened. Drivers should not leave their cars to confront drivers especially while cars are still on the track. The track also needs better lighting, the authorities are investigating this incident leave it to them.

      • bell1571 - Aug 10, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        Being a semi Steward fan, I’ve watched the available video’s several times and have come to pretty much the same conclusion. Tony knew he had done a slide job on the kid the previous lap, but didn’t touch the kids car, but the kid (Ward) got into the outside fence and wrecked his car. From what I saw in the video’s, Stewart decided to play chicken with the kid, goosed the throttle, and never veered away from Ward, and struck him with his right rear tire. Stewart fans aren’t going to like what I say, but this isn’t about Stewart fans. If the DA’s office finds Stewart at fault, he could be charged with manslaughter, as a minimum. Condolences to the Ward family.

      • jim9660 - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:21 PM

        I am not a fan of dirt track or Stewart. Anyone that would view a cell phone video and claim they could hear a specific car accelerate with 15 other cars driving by is an idiot and a clueless moron. What I saw was a last second reaction by someone who saw a figure dressed in black appear in the dark in a spot the person had no business being in and Stewart trying to take evasive action.

      • bwillyc - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:18 AM

        It was a telephoto shot across the track. Sound was probably a car nearer the camera. Wize up!

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 11, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        I don’t know very much about sprint car racing, but everything I’ve heard says that you do a lot of steering with the throttle, which could mean that he was trying to steer away from the young man with the throttle, or perhaps didn’t even see him and was just trying to keep the tires on the car warm while going through the turn on a caution lap. It is tough to see out of the right side of the car, and the lighting at this particular track did not look very good. Like I said, I don’t know much about sprint car racing, but from what people who do know a lot have told me, this doesn’t appear to be intentional, or even him trying to “scare” him. It was a really unfortunate and really tragic accident… something that happens in racing- it can be a dangerous sport.

    • runninggun1024runninggun1024 - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      Not the first time tonys temper has got the best of him he thinks he is a bad ass just like the bush gang does.He knew when he gunned it would fishtail he knew the chances.

      • lamuffluver9 - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM

        If the kid stays in his car or exits and stays off the track, he would still be with us and driving anonomously, kid made a poor decision and it cost him his life. Stewart was where he was supposed to be!! The kid was not! He could handle it in the pits!

    • mjphoto45 - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Owner doesn’t know Stewart. Tony forgot about the tires sticking out. Video show Tony went up and not down. Criminal charges and I hope no more racing for this poor sport

    • jenni5388 - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      That’s bull lowtalker. Tony is a person, and a professional. There’s a difference between getting heated in the midst of completion and intentionally inflicting harm on someone. He wouldn’t hit a person to inflict injury on purpose. The track was dusty, the car in front swerved just before he came upon Kevin Ward. The track is dirt, bumpy, it’s dark out, and the cars are jarring around and the visibility isn’t great. No human, in a sport they love, would intentionally hit to harm another human.
      I don’t watch Nascar or this type of racing, but I can sympathize with the pain the fans are feeling, I love open wheel racing. My heart goes out to Kevin’s family and to Tony. Having anything like this happen in a sport is devastating. We want to see fun and competition, and when the reality of tragedy entwines it’s shocking. To point a finger and say it’s intentional and people will look the other way is ignorant.

  2. jxegh - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Tony Stewart intentionally tried to get close or feigned driving into that poor driver. He misjudged it and killed him. End of story.

    • lowtalker - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      you are absolutely correct. you know Tony was thinking he was going to scare the guy and he screwed up.

      • it's all bs - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        I agree with you BUT the guy is dead and Tony is responsible for that…..the dude should have stayed in his car however Tony is a PROFESSIONAL he should have known better and that his actions could have RESULTED in this guy’s death…..SMDH!!!

  3. ljstud1o - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Always remember that the Stewart team actually were making plans to race in the next race until they changed their mind. Pathetic…

    • les49er - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      He had an obligation to race before he realized he was too shaken to race. Common sense prevailed.

  4. ballsoharduniversity52 - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Tony Stewart- What a putrid human being.

    • childofsea - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      You know him personally, I take it! Like him or not, he did not intend to hit the kid. He has too much good in his life to want to do something like that. It was tragic, but you don’t walk out on a track with cars going top speed! Sure, in NASCAR they go on the track to shake their fist or whatever at another driver, but only to the side of the track and ONLY when the cars are under caution!

      • runninggun1024runninggun1024 - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:34 AM

        Your wrong there has been drivers that walked and run onto the track throwing there helmets fists and anything else they could get there hands on.There have been drivers that intently wrecked other drivers tony stewart being one of them. He let his temper get the best of him like he has in the past but this time he took a life accident or not the kid is dead.

    • fla2mich - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      Your the putrid human being for making comments on a matter you know nothing about

  5. mutter69 - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    I haven’t seen one thing posted about the official results of what happened. What a bunch of whiners. You have no idea what happened but guilty as charged by YOU right????? No wonder this is no help for the human race. I have never seen such an ignorant group of judgmental people. Not one of you who has commented said RIP Kevin Watkins. .

    • oruacat2 - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Because nobody knows who Kevin Watkins is, genius.

      • mutter69 - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        WHO CARES MORON, a man lost his life and you have no compassion for anyone you don’t KNOW.

      • bell1571 - Aug 10, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        Well genius, the kid’s name is Kevin Ward. Not Watkins, you might want to check the facts next time……………….GENIUS!

    • krag76 - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      And the worse is yet to come. When they find nothing wrong with what Stewart did these same people will be saying Stewart paid off the DA,cops and judge.Or because he is a celeb they let him go or what ever else their Fox News minds can dream up.

      • powellbank - Aug 10, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        You’re mixed up krag76 – all the cretins watch CNN.

    • childofsea - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      Well said, mutter! The people who hate Tony will build up the negative side of this. It is a tragic event, but Tony most likely didn’t even see him and if he did at the last minute, when you try to change the path of one of those little cars on dirt, they tend to skip to the side and it appears the rear right skidded up and clipped the kid. Auto racing is dangerous and if you lose your head, you can lose your life.

    • itsreaps - Aug 10, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      I think he said that because the guy who died was Kevin Ward Jr., not Kevin Watkins…idiot.

  6. techmeister1 - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Until the facts are reported by experts, it’s all irresponsible speculation.

  7. it's all bs - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    bottom line is this: Tony Stewart killed a guy…intentional or not the guy is dead!!!

    • worknman24hours - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      Well,intentional or accidental does matter.

      Very much.

      But drivers who place themselves directly in the path of a moving race car by suddenly running at it will die.

  8. sportfan2 - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    Road rage from both parties.

  9. xjokerz - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    ” He Races Hard, he Races Clean ”
    in what world you dumb hick?

    LOL!

  10. spudweiser07 - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Has anyone seen the video? I have! Its quite disturbing. He was a young who let the best of his emotions take over and wasnt thinking clearly. In the video you see jump out of his car and head towards the pathway of others. The driver infront of Stewart CLEARLY dodges him. He almost hit him himself. He was wearing a black firesuit and with it being that dark with little lighting it was going to happen. Its sad. Its tragic. But now like with any other racing accidents you have to move forward to make the sport better and safer. He should not have gotten out of his car. PERIOD!

  11. mblue24 - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    All of you people who think Tony hit him on purpose are stupid as hell. You can clearly see where tony tried to avoid him the last minute. If you was going fast on a track and see someone dressed in black with no lighting I’m sure you all would have hit him. First of all. He shouldn’t have gotten out if his car in the first place. Don’t blame Tony for an accident.

  12. petu1945 - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    So many comments and I’ll bet no one has seen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qILmIyG6qno&feature=youtu.be&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DqILmIyG6qno%26feature%3Dyoutu.be&has_verified=1
    Tony is an idiot and showed it resulting in a tragic death. There was no reason to “gun it” as he went by the kid as this video clearly shows he did.

    • cwifyou - Aug 10, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      So from the video you can tell that the noise you heard was from Stewart’s vehicle. Interesting.

    • cwifyou - Aug 10, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      It’s interesting that there were moments in that video that showed only Ward’s vehicle and I heard revving and engines running(More then one). So Ward’s vehicle was running and revving after he got out? Oh and he has more than one engine?

      Just trying to figure this whole magical thing out where you can tell where sounds are coming from in a video.

    • tournamentdan - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:29 PM

      This is why people that have never stepped in a racing car (especially a dirt track car) should never open their stupid little mouths. These cars are set up to go to the left when you “gun it”. With the amount of horse power these cars have, it does not take a lot to make the car react like it did. And it was a reaction to try and get out of the way at the last second from hitting a retard on the track.

  13. fla2mich - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    When the young man stepped out of the car, he opened himself up for what eventually happened, could have been his own brother hit him and we would never have heard anything about it unless you were a local. Since a popular person was involved he will be judged unfairly by many, I for one believe the kid got what he deserved and Steward is going to have to live with it, not being able to forget. I feel it will affect his driving forever. Drivers should stay with the there cars until the pace car has slowed the field.

  14. terryleather - Aug 10, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    The guy was stupid for getting out of his car, plain and simple. But every other driver on the track went inside to avoid him. The only one that went high was Stewart. You’d think the best driver on the track would have known better than to do that.

  15. cwifyou - Aug 10, 2014 at 6:39 PM

    funny comments about other cars going low but not steward. Look at the video

    at 30 seconds there is a car that passes Ward higher on the track.

    So can we just quit with the lies?

    • worknman24hours - Aug 10, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      Just so people know,this video is the unedited version and clearly shows Ward getting killed.

      It also has a very loud soundtrack that will get everyone in the room looking at it before the impact happens.

      Maybe not something for the kids to see.

  16. innovativethinking87 - Aug 10, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    The damn kid came out his car running around a freaking race track what the hell did anybody expect

    • charles116 - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      It is standard procedure to get out your car.
      It’is also standard procedure TO DRIVE STRAIGHT

      • tournamentdan - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:34 PM

        How do you drive straight around a corner? It is not standard procedure to run down the track in the line of race car traffic and shake you fist at another driver while wearing a black helmet and black racing suit at night at a low lit race track.

      • ecnuob51 - Aug 10, 2014 at 10:15 PM

        It’s also not standard procedure to hit your gas while passing a person.
        Black suit? That’s the excuse. What about the fact that there were warning signs and every other driver was able to avoid him.

  17. charles116 - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    Stewart miscalculated.
    That was a fatal error.

  18. charles116 - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    Stewart career is over. He thought he wa being ‘cute’.
    Now y’all back to yer NRA meetin’s.

    Let me tell you a true story about my aunt whose detective boyfriend
    accidentally shot her between the eyes,
    Yes she died.
    Both heavy drinkers and fighters who played that gun pointing
    scenario out many times.
    Guess HE was drunker than usual.
    Stewart miscalculated he distance of his car from the victim.
    He will not get off scott free.

  19. aug99 - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    I would hope stewart did not do it intentionally, but maybe he did not do all he could to miss him.
    He was going to teach him a lesson.
    I can see stewart doing that.

  20. ecnuob51 - Aug 10, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    I don’t see how people don’t get it. He clearly did not kill the man on purpose that is not what anybody is saying. He did purposely try to make contact with him because he is known to be a hothead. This guy is a professional driver and could have completely avoided him with ease ESPECIALLY with the warning signals shown to him. He should be charged with manslaughter. There is no justifying the death of anyone in a situation like this. Yea he shouldn’t have ran out his car but Stewart could’ve done a lot more to avoid him. What else explains him smashing on the gas as he’s passing him

  21. jimjimw1970 - Aug 14, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    Kevin Ward ran down the track and was barely missed by the 45 car, he then continued down the track into Stewart’s car and has died. Tony has apologized for his part in the accident. At what point will the Ward family apologize to Tony for their sons ignorant actions that has destroyed one of our hero’s careers? No way did Tony do this on purpose… Kevin Ward acted out 100% on purpose!!!

    • jcoopdo - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:22 PM

      I agree 1000% with your statements. He changed everybody’s life’s with his immature move that night, and unfortunately ruined his family’s life and Stewarts life as well. Selfish idiot move on his part.

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