Report: Ward’s father says there was ‘no reason’ for Stewart crash

An angry Kevin Ward Sr. spoke publicly for the first time about the death of his son, and blamed Stewart for striking and killing Kevin Ward Jr. during a race at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park on Saturday night.

Ward Jr., 20, and Stewart had contact during an Empire Super Sprints Series race in the upstate New York half-mile dirt track. Afterward, Ward got out of his car, ran onto the track and angrily gestured at Stewart. Seconds later, Stewart’s right-rear tire struck Ward and threw him an estimated 20 to 30 feet, fatally injuring him.

Ward Sr. placed the blame for his son’s death on Stewart, who has not spoken publicly since the accident.

"The reason he (Ward Jr.) probably got out of that car is who put him into the wall. He was definitely put into the wall," Ward Sr. told Syracuse.com. "Tony Stewart was the best damn driver by far on the track that night. Why he had to go up as high as he did and hog my son, there’s no reason for it.

"Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn’t see him," Ward Sr. told the website, noting that several other drivers on track avoided his son. " … The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?"

Smoke out: Stewart to call it a career

Sunday afternoon, Stewart issued the following statement: "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."

As for the social media reaction, Ward Sr. told Syracuse.com, "A situation happened and everybody has their own opinions. Some are way off, some without a clue and some are very hurtful. A 20-year-old, talented driver was killed and that’s what we need to focus on. … We’ve had a lot of messages sent. We are so thankful. If everybody could just pray for us, we’ll get through it."

The visitation for Ward was Wednesday at Trainor Funeral Home in Boonville, N.Y. The funeral was Thursday at South Lewis High School.

Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero said he expects the investigation of the accident and Ward’s death to take at least two more weeks.