The car driven by Tony Stewart collided with and killed a rival driver Saturday night during a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Upstate New York.
Stewart and the driver, who was not identified by Ontario County Sheriffs, got into an accident during the green flag portion of the race. The driver got out of his vehicle and came down the track towards the field circling under caution. He pointed and gestured angrily at Stewart.
When Stewart drove by, the driver was hit by Stewart's rear right tire and thrown a few yards down the track. The accident happened at approximately 10:30pm. The driver was taken by ambulance to Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:15pm.
Stewart was questioned and released by the Ontario County Sheriffs.
Ontario County Sheriff Philip C. Povero emphasized that the investigation into the incident is not a criminal investigation and there are no charges pending at this time. It is being considered an "on-track crash investigation."
The District Attorney office was contacted regarding the incident. "When the investigation is complete, we will review it with them," Povero said.
The accident happened on lap 14 of the 25 lap Lucas Oil SuperSprint feature race Saturday. Stewart is a frequent visitor to the dirt track during the weekend NASCAR is at Watkins Glen.
A Stewart spokesman issued a statement after 4am Sunday morning: "A tragic accident took place last night during a sprint car race in which Tony Stewart was participating. Tony was unhurt, but a fellow competitor lost his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We’re still attempting to sort through all the details and we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time."
Stewart is a three-time champion in NASCAR's top division. Canandaigua Motorsports Park is about a two-hour drive from Watkins Glen International race track, where Stewart is scheduled to race in a NASCAR event Sunday.