SBD/Weekend Rap

Stewart Out Of NASCAR Race After Dirt Track Incident On Saturday

Tony Stewart is not participating in today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen Int'l after he struck and killed fellow sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in Canadaigua, New York, last night. Ward, who "died from injuries suffered in the incident," was walking on the dirt track at the Canandaigua Motorsports Track when hit by Stewart's car (CNN.com, 8/10). Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said that his department's investigation "is not criminal and that Stewart was 'fully cooperative'" (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/10).

Stewart-Haas Racing Competition Dir Greg Zipadelli just after 10:00am ET this morning made the announcement that Stewart would not race, saying this is a "very tough, very emotional time for everybody." Stewart's decision came after NASCAR Senior Dir of Communications for Competition Kerry Tharp earlier in the morning said there was "nothing that would preclude him from our standpoint of participating in today's event" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/10).  Stewart issued a statement after the race began, saying, "There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.” Regan Smith is driving Stewart's car today (THE DAILY).

The news was widely covered this morning, as NBC's "Today" led with the story. ESPN NASCAR analyst Marty Smith also appeared on ABC's "GMA," which led with the story. "CBS Sunday Morning" mentioned the incident five minutes into the broadcast. ESPN's "NASCAR Countdown" discussed the Stewart incident for the first 20 minutes of the show (THE DAILY). 
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