CBS Sports: driver hit by Tony Stewart has died

Photo source: USATSI/CBS Sports
Photo source: USATSI/CBS Sports

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - According to CBS Sports, and multiple sources, a dirt track driver that was hit by NASCAR driver and team owner Tony Stewart at a race in New York on Saturday night has died.

CBS says that the Ontario County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

USA Today reported the driver was Kevin Ward, Jr.

The Associated Press says Stewart and the driver were involved in a crash on a previous lap at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park, according to a witness. The man was walking on the track when he was hit and thrown a "great distance."

Multiple sources reported that Ward and Stewart tangled on the track and that Ward got out of his car "to show his displeasure with Stewart" when he was struck.

The track canceled all racing events for the rest of the night.

Stewart was in New York for the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen and took part in the Saturday night race known as the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint.

Stewart's NASCAR team is based in Kannapolis.  Team spokesman Mike Arning released the following statement Sunday morning:

"A tragic accident took place last night during a sprint car race in which Tony Stewart was participating," Arning said. "Tony was unhurt, but a fellow competitor lost his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends."

The sheriff's office confirmed to the AP that an investigation is underway.

"Next is continuing interviews, a continued evaluation of evidence we have, including video, and there is certainly going to be an evaluation of medical evidence when it is collected from the autopsy," Sheriff Philip Povero told the media early Sunday morning.