CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. – While Tony Stewart returned to the NASCAR track on August 31st, the investigation into the dirt track incident in New York that force him out of racing for three weeks was still ongoing.
But on Thursday it was announced that the Ontario County (N.Y) Sheriff’s Department has concluded their research into the fatal incident involving Stewart that killed 20-year old sprint car driver Kevin Ward Junior is complete.
Sheriff Phillip C. Povero said that the District Attorney, which has been aiding with the investigation, will announce a course of action next week. Povero also told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that the release didn’t imply that charges were pending against Stewart.
During a sprint car race at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Western New York, Stewart’s car hit and killed Ward as he came down the track to argue with the three-time Sprint Cup champion. A lap before, Stewart and Ward had their cars tangled up and the latter’s car was heavily damaged.
Following the incident Stewart missed the next day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen and then the following two in Michigan and Bristol. Stewart returned to his No. 14 car for the Atlanta race on August 31st and before read an emotion statement in which he said the incident with Ward had forever changes his life.
NASCAR president Mike Helton granted Stewart an exemption to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup even though he had failed to make a qualifying attempt for every race before the playoff. One stipulation to that is Stewart had to win a race which he failed to do at Atlanta or Richmond as the driver missed the chase for a second straight year.