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Things You Need To Know About The Kevin Ward Jr. & Tony Stewart Tragedy

First off, I want to state that I am not a member of the Tony Stewart fan club or Kevin Ward Jr. fan club. I admire them both. I am, however, a proud member of the dirt racing community and when something happens to a fellow driver/drivers, we all feel the pain.

More details are emerging from the tragic accident last Saturday night involving NASCAR driver Tony Stewart that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. If you’re like myself, you’re getting tired of the mainstream media’s biased reporting of this tragedy. I hope to answer some more questions about what happens on a race track.

In case you didn’t get a chance to read my initial blog about this tragedy, you can see it here. In the blog I explain what a driver goes through under the caution flag while racing.

The video of the accident from the track that night has been viewed over and over again. Now that same video has been slowed down and lightened so you can better see what happened. We may never know exactly all of what happened, but I ask that you watch this video before forming an opinion on what you think might’ve happened.

In the lightened video it does not appear that Stewart swerved towards Ward Jr. Only after Ward Jr. was beside Stewart’s sprint car did the car move to the right. Does Ward Jr. attempt to grab the wing of Stewart’s sprint car? Is he actually hanging on to the car? It appears to look like this though I will let you decide.

Another claim some people are making is that Stewart tried to spray mud at Ward Jr. In the video the track appears to be dry slick. Dry slick is a track condition which means the track is hard and there is no moisture in the dirt. When a track is like that, the track can get slippery like ice. There is no “mud” to spray and, like I stated above, only after Stewart was past Ward Jr. did his car move to the right.

Kevin Ward Jr. never actually gets visibly run over by the car but is instead thrown from the car. I always thought it was strange the car didn’t jump up in the air like it should have if Stewart had run over Ward Jr. A sprint car weighs around 1500 lbs. Your average street car weighs above 3000 lbs. If Ward was run over, Stewart’s car should have jumped up in the air and it never does in the video.

I don’t think Stewart saw him until it was too late. In a sprint car, you have a hard time seeing to the right as the wing blocks your vision and as they were going through that corner, they were turning to the left. Ward Jr. would have been blocked from view by the cars in front of Stewart and then the wing of his car. The video below shows what the view is like behind the wheel of a sprint car.

Tony Stewart chose not to race the NASCAR race at Michigan this weekend. I hope someday he will be able to return to the track and race again.

Another comment I’ve heard is why didn’t Stewart’s spotter radio him about Ward Jr. being on the track. In almost all of dirt racing, we can’t have spotters. Once we put the helmet on, it’s us and the car. Some series have what’s called a “receiver” and this is a “only” receiving device that we have for the Officials to say where to line up and if a caution is on the track and where it is. I have never heard an official on my receiver say “watch out for a driver running out in the middle of track”.

Please keep both the Kevin Ward Jr.’s family and Tony Stewart’s family in your prayers.

You can talk to me personally about racing at Bobby@KHAK.com

Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

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