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Kevin Ward Jr.’s father speaks out, questions Tony Stewart

Aug 13, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT

Kevin Ward Sr. has given a public interview following his 20-year-old son, Kevin Jr.’s, passing on Saturday night.

Ward Sr. spoke to Syracuse.com, and asked how Tony Stewart could have been, in his eyes, the only car that did not see Kevin Jr. on track after he’d gotten out of his car.

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

He added the reason, in his mind, Kevin Jr. got out of the car was in retaliation for the contact between Ward Jr. and Stewart.

“I think the reason he probably got out of that car is who put him into the wall. He was definitely put into the wall,” Ward Sr. said.

[ MORE: Sheriff says Stewart/Ward investigation may continue for "two weeks or more" ]

Ward Sr. also questioned when or if Stewart will speak publicly beyond the statement his team of representatives issued Sunday.

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

Although both Ward Sr. and wife Pamela were at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park Saturday night, per the report, Ward Sr. did not see the contact itself. Track officials did not let them on the track until an extended time passed, and reportedly, they watched as CPR efforts were attempted but failed.

[ MORE: Dan Patrick on Tony Stewart: "I want to know that it bothers him (VIDEO) ]

Ward Jr. died in hospital, not at the track.

Ward Sr. remembered and reflected his son’s passion for racing as he grew up, while also recalling on the work his son did with his company, Westward Painting Co.

“His heart, I don’t know how he fit it in his chest,” Ward Sr. said.

  1. techmeister1 - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    It’s understandable that the parents want to blame someone for the death of their son. No one knows if Stewart had any hand in Kevin’s death other than possibly being in the wrong place at the wrong time.. What we do know is that Kevin would be alive today had he stayed in his car. That is the reality of the situation and the reason most tracks and sanctioning organizations require a driver stay in their car unless it is on fire. I feel for all involved but Kevin took his destiny in his hands when he went after Stewart on a live race track.

    • shager - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:28 AM

      agreed. I am not even a fan of Stewart’s but the rules are such in racing that the drivers do not get out of the vehicle. Yes, TS put him into the wall. That is called racing, I thought. ONe of the reasons I do not watch. Dale Earnhardt was one of the most ruthless drivers ever and everyone thought he hung the moon. He is one of the reasons I hated racing. Putting ppl out of the race was the name of the game. No more. no less. Then go on to win. Hotheaded young men have no reason to race cars. They are as dangerous as the cars themselves. This proves so much of what I stopped watching it for 40 years ago.
      Sorry for the young man’s family and of course, they want to blame ts but I do not see how that is possible for a man walking in the middle of a race track right at the man who just flipped your car out of the race. IT IS PART OF RACING>always has been

  2. buckie16 - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    RIP Kevin Ward Jr. Thoughts & prayers for friends & family. More erroneously sensationalize accounts. I have yet to definitively see the supposed bump. From the only vid I have seen, it does NOT appear Tony bumped the Ward car. Also, there were two, or three cars directly in front of Steward, who nearly hit Ward also, that impaired Tony’s view. Thankfully, those with far greater authority than those responsible for the thunderously ignorant commentary that plague this accident, have a much more rational & responsible methods, than court of public opinion. Thankfully, in light of this tragedy, many venues & sanctioning bodies (inc. NASCAR) are revising rules, safety guidelines & standards regarding driver conduct in the immediate aftermath of crashes. So, it seems good will come from the Ward family’s tragic loss, in that the particular aspect of motor sports that claimed Kevin’s life will soon be redefined, globally. In fact, many rule books will already have been re-written in effect before this weekend’s events.

  3. harrisonhits2 - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    I think its hard to pin a murder or manslaughter charge on Stewart for this. But I also think law enforcement jumped the gun saying no charges would be filed almost immediately. They need to look at if there was any negative history between Ward and Stewart. Did they tangle in previous races ? Had one or both caused the other to wreck before this incident ?

    What I do see is a wrongful death lawsuit coming. Its much easier to prove something in a civil court than a criminal one and Ward’s parents can possibly win millions from Stewart.

    • qtothed - Aug 13, 2014 at 5:39 PM

      They won’t win, you have to prove negligence. The only negligence is he got out of HIS car

      • punkinthecorner - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        you are wrong. what was nicole browns negligence? getting in the way of o. j. ‘s knife

      • punkinthecorner - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:47 AM

        disregard the other post. oj was proved innocent but got hit with a wrongful death suit. tony is going to pay big….just like he should. have any of you seen his interviews after he gets wrecked…he wants to kill people!

  4. pitpenguinsrulez - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Dear Mr. Ward, was your son such a dumbass by walking down the track to confront Tony while cars were moving? Not going to make excuses for Tony but why? Couldn’t he have waited until after the race?

  5. cparker2013 - Aug 13, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    It was apparently too soon for the father to speak. He needed more time to grieve before coming out and saying something like this. Seriously? Had his son stayed in his car and waited until after the race, he would be alive today, end of story. That’s half of what is wrong with society today. Unbelievable. Sorry for your loss, anyone dying at the age of 20 is a tragedy. But to blame this on Tony Stewart, come on.

  6. manx44709 - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Why in every article they refuse to state the other car in front of tony also didnt see Kevin and you can see him swerve. Thats the fact everyone keeps refusing to note. But of course since its tony stewart he shouldve seen him. My heart goes out to all involved but quit putting blame on Tony. So many facts are left out and wont be acknowledge is ridiculous. Someone get the balls and speak up. Im sorry to say this and mean no disrespect but every racer puts their own life in danger and their family knows the dangers IN and OUT of these cars on the track. Next we will be hearing other sports suing for injuries.

    • manx44709 - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      and please dont go bringing up difference from injury to passing away. You know exactly what I mean by that statement. If the other driver was the one involved it would not be this big of a news story

    • randipadgett88 - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:01 AM

      I was thinking the same thing. It’s obvious that the car before swerved out of the way, because Ward was right in front of it. If that driver hadn’t moved, he would have been the one to hit him.
      The whole thing is tragic, but it never would have happened if Ward hadn’t gotten out of the car. You never get out of the car like that unless there’s a fire. That should be a simple rule to follow and he didn’t, and he paid the price for that.
      Like I said, Tragic, but avoidable.

      • tonkatoy40 - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        Making that comment shows immense ignorance!!

      • tonkatoy40 - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        Sorry that was for tork comment

  7. tork006 - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    I believe Tony Stewart murdered the young man. Stewart is a bully, he is a murderer, period. Anyone who sticks up for this goon is as bad as he is. Scum, bum, and murderer = Tony Stewart.
    I have been following Stewart for many years and everyone knows he is a bully and would be capable of killing someone with the rage that he has.
    Look at his face……..a murderer.

    • qtothed - Aug 13, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      You just saying this nonsense to get a rise out of everyone, aren’t you? you a funny little pot stirrer

    • rodmyster1990 - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:40 AM

      I guess you must be a goddamn psychic? Tell me is everyone in the world that you think is an asshole also a murderer?
      God you are stupid.

    • imaplague1134 - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:02 AM

      tork, this scum, bum and murderer thinks you’re ignorant. even if Stewart did mean to hit him, he never could have hit him if dumbass Ward had stayed in his car. THAT is the bottom line!

    • vtruck - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      Tork u are truly a big lowlife dumb F**K…

  8. manx44709 - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Look at his face comment not worth answering shows who u are.

  9. hozay05 - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    One time on the freeway I got side swiped by an aggressive punk kid. I was pissed ended up sideways but what do u think I did?? I got the hell out of the way off the freeway. Cars go fast. Dangerous. With that said rip Kevin

  10. gbart22 - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Cause the father is clearly an objective party in this and obviously has his emotions in check. He’s upset I understand that but taking any comments from him at this point or either parent really is a waste of time. They lost their son they are emotional and angry and probably will soon be gunning for a lawsuit to get some millions in a settlement because in the end it always comes down to money.

    Anyway the Stewart is a “murderer” comment is just silly. You’re clearly a fan who doesn’t like him but had it been Johnson or Gordon or any driver you root for you would be out in full defense of the guy. You discredit yourself with your comments.

    I find it so interesting that people bring up how Stewart is a “bully” on the track and everyone knows it but the most beloved nascar driver of all time, dale Earnhardt sr, is beloved because he was the biggest “bully” of them all. He wrecked people with little regard for their safety and the fans look back on that with endearing nostalgia for the good old days. Give me a break. Stewart may be a bully on the track but it’s a big leap to get from rough racing to murder and anyone with a little basic common sense can grasp this. Pick a driver any driver and you can find an incident where they could have killed someone on the track with their actions even the most ho-hum of drivers like Carl Edwards intentionally went after keslowski a few years ago and sent his car spinning and flipping that theoretically could have killed him.

    I feel bad for the family but the kid was an idiot he ran down the track into traffic to wave his hands and curse out at a car going by. He deserves blame for willingly putting himself into danger he knew there were cars on the track he understood the dangers and still did it anyway.

    • shager - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:38 AM

      dale Sr. is the reason I quit watching racing many years ago….he was the most vindictive driver on the race track. He bitched about others but if he did it….it was all right. I cannot even go back and count how many drivers he knocked out of races. He was a rake and a bully and everyone mourns him so horribly and for what……he just was put the boundaries on other drivers and it caught up to him.

      This young man had no time to learn and lost the most important thing because of it. There should be anger management classes before they race or some sort of mental test that proves the racer is ready to race not kill people. ANGER MANAGEMENT is important in any professional.

      • jaihutto - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        You’ve clearly never actually attended an anger management class. You have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.

  11. gbart22 - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Cause the father is clearly an objective party in this and obviously has his emotions in check. He’s upset I understand that but taking any comments from him at this point or either parent really is a waste of time. They lost their son they are emotional and angry and probably will soon be gunning for a lawsuit to get some millions in a settlement because in the end it always comes down to money.

    Anyway the Stewart is a “murderer” comment is just silly. You’re clearly a fan who doesn’t like him but had it been Johnson or Gordon or any driver you root for you would be out in full defense of the guy. You discredit yourself with your comments.

    I find it so interesting that people bring up how Stewart is a “bully” on the track and everyone knows it but the most beloved nascar driver of all time, dale Earnhardt sr, is beloved because he was the biggest “bully” of them all. He wrecked people with little regard for their safety and the fans look back on that with endearing nostalgia for the good old days. Give me a break. Stewart may be a bully on the track but it’s a big leap to get from rough racing to murder and anyone with a little basic common sense can grasp this. Pick a driver any driver and you can find an incident where they could have killed someone on the track with their actions even the most ho-hum of drivers like Carl Edwards intentionally went after keslowski a few years ago and sent his car spinning and flipping that theoretically could have killed him.

    I feel bad for the family but the kid was an idiot he ran down the track into traffic to wave his hands and curse out at a car going by. He deserves blame for willingly putting himself into danger he knew there were cars on the track he understood the dangers and still did it anyway.

  12. dcollins22585 - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    The kid wandered too far onto the track too soon. They were not even completely under the control of the pace car yet.

  13. astrongus - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    How does a Sprint Cup Champion crash a much less experienced driver in a modest race?… Then as a Sprint Cup Champion is the only driver to hit the crashed victim during a yellow flag caution..??????…..Again, a YELLOW FLAG caution……Tony Stewart had no problem avoiding the emergency personnel that quickly assisted the victim….. Tony Stewart is either a very bad driver at best or an out of control “reckless” driver at worst….Either way he no longer belongs on the Sprint Cup level…..Why Nascar would even allow such an idiot on the race track again is beyond reason?

    • rodmyster1990 - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:42 AM

      I am confused why you think being very good at driving in a circle implies a high level of skill. There are very good reasons most of the world laughs at stock car racing…

    • imaplague1134 - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:07 AM

      lol astrongus, there was no emergency personnel to avoid until AFTER Stewart hit Ward plus Stewart stopped his car on track so never made another lap around when the emergency personnel was on the track so get your facts straight.

      • astrongus - Aug 14, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        Tony Stewart lost control of his emotions and because of it, today, we lay to rest a very young person. This young person was crashed by one of the best drivers in the world. The lane of Ward’s was cut off by Tony Stewart sending him into a vicious crash. We will never know the condition of Ward after that crash, because as he got out of his car during a yellow flag caution, as many drivers do after crashing, he was struck by the only vehicle that was “on the gas” during a yellow flag caution, driven by one of the best drivers in the world. As emergency personnel rushed the victim, Tony Stewart was able to get off the gas and immediately stop……..

  14. markm5386 - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Mr. Ward I am sorry for your loss but watch the video again. Your son should have lifted to avoid hitting Tony’s rear tire and causing him to spin into the wall. Had he of stayed in the car.

  15. markm5386 - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    I think Stewart should sue

    • Orcasite - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:15 AM

      Seriously, I agree. The fact of the matter is that there is no basis for any of this media attack and Stewart could sue. Instead, there will be the inevitable suit by the family of the idiot who walked onto an active race track.

  16. madwrench9 - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Why do Americans think that everything can be explained as black or white, left coast/right coast, red state/blue state, your team/my team, good guys/bad guys, etc. etc.?

    Everyone is trying to decide if Stewart hit Ward on purpose OR if he didn’t see him.

    How about this: Stewart was trying to scare the crap out of Ward and maybe give him a dirt shower, but he miscalculated. Certainly a possibility; in fact, most likely scenario.

    Not everything in life is limited to two choices, people!

    • punkinthecorner - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:34 AM

      exactly…spot on. cause you know that IS tony stewart

      • nicolegordon24 - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:55 AM

        Your comments are pointless punk nobody cares

  17. rodmyster1990 - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    I don’t watch racing or really care about the sport, but I saw the video, and this is pissing me off.
    Would his dad feel better if EVERYONE hit his son? Anytime someone gets hit, it is going to be one person that does the hitting. I’m sure Tony Stewart is one of the best there is at driving in a circle, but that doesn’t imply a huge amount of skill.
    Furthermore, what did his son expect when he got out and stood in essentially the center of the track? He needs to get some class and stop trying to point fingers, because if they have to be pointed, they will land squarely on the inexperienced kid who ran to the center of a narrow track to point and yell.

    • rpcole57 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:42 AM

      you think it’s easy to drive a sprint car on dirt? go try it moron.

  18. madpissedandangry - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:48 AM

    I believe Stewart is guilty of manslaughter, period. Was it intentional? Probably not. Stewart has displayed his aggressive side numerous times, and he put this kid into the wall. And to all of the people saying “Ward shouldn’t have gotten out of the car”, it’s all his fault” crap, NASCAR drivers frequently get out of their cars to point fingers and throw helmets at other cars. Stewart has done it, but do we see any of them getting run over? I personally think NASCAR drivers are spoiled little childish brats. Drivers in other forms of auto racing (F1, Indy car etc.) are far more professional than the NASCAR drivers. I hope they throw the book at Stewart. He knows what he did. Intentional or not, he knows.

    • Orcasite - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:17 AM

      Yes, he knows. You, however, don’t. What you believe is really irrelevant, especially since it seems based upon irrelevant points.

      • nicolegordon24 - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:58 AM

        lol so true!!! Once in a blue moon they get out of the cars but NEVER on the race track…Have you ever watched a stock car race smh ugh

      • madpissedandangry - Aug 14, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        “Irrelevant points” ? LOL! And I suppose what you believe is relevant, right genius? You’re probably one of those backward NASCAR redneck fans who would lay down on the track and _______ those drivers if given the chance, because you just love them so much. Do you have your Tony Stewart underwear on right now?

      • madpissedandangry - Aug 14, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        “Irrelevant points” ? LOL! And I suppose what you believe is relevant, right genius? You’re probably one of those backward NASCAR redneck fans who would lay down on the track and _______ those drivers if given the chance, because you just love them so much. Do you have your Tony Stewart underwear on right now?

    • tonkatoy40 - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      Sorry for ward but getting out puts fault on himself the car in front of tony clearly came close to hitting ward at the same time shielding Tony’s view a very small window to react. Tony didn’t even touch him to make him hit the wall in the first place this whole incident is a result of the heat of the moment from ward not thnking clearly in what happened this is not Tony’s fault at all just a tragic racing incident .

  19. 1rdd - Aug 14, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    If his son wasn’t a hothead and would have stayed in the car, he’d still be with us today. Who knows, maybe 10-15 years ago, Tony Stewart may have been in the same situation but didn’t confront anyone. It’s sad that Ward died but he alone is the reason he died.

  20. md111513 - Aug 14, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    First…my prayers go out to the Ward Family. I know it hurts to loose a family member or friend, no matter how they died. I know Kevin would still be alive if he had stayed in his car, but the simple fact is, he didn’t. That doesn’t make him a hot head. EVERYONE looses their temper from time to time. I have seen Tony get out of his car (on the NASCAR track) as well. I don’t believe Tony hit him intentionally, however Tony has a bad history of causing accidents and injuries on the track. What I am having a hard time understanding is why Tony hasn’t gotten on national TV to give his condolences to the family and friends of Kevin. All I have heard from Tony has been written down on paper and read from his spokes people. Has anyone heard Tony’s side of what happened? I haven’t. Tony is THE ONLY person alive that knows! I don’t think Tony should go to jail, or be sued. Accidents happen. That’s why they call them ACCIDENTS. People make bad judgment calls every day, that doesn’t make you stupid or a hot head!

  21. bobakimbo - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    The biggest problem I have with absolving Stewart of any responsibility is the evidence, as provided by the video and eyewitness accounts, that Tony accelerated right before hitting Ward. Anyone familiar with this track knows that, except for the front straightaway, this track is essentially one big left turn, all the way from “turn 1″ through “turn 4.” What happens when you accelerate while in a left turn on a dirt track? The rear end slides out to the right. The argument that Tony accelerated to avoid hitting Ward does not make sense. If Tony really didn’t see Kevin until the last minute, and was trying to take evasive action, he would have turned left and REMOVED his foot from the accelerator in the hopes that the rear end would NOT drift to the right. This is what it appears the driver in front of Stewart did. Clearly, both Stewart and Ward share some of the responsibility for this tragic accident; and the most logical explanation to me, all things considered, is that Tony was trying to spin dirt on Kevin, but miscalculated.

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