Canandaigua to resume racing Saturday, week after Ward's death
Racing at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York will resume on Saturday, one week after an on-track incident involving Tony Stewart claimed the life of a 20-year-old driver.
In a statement posted to the park's website Tuesday (though dated Wednesday on the site), owner/promoter Jeremie Corcoran said he spoke with the father of Kevin Ward Jr., the driver struck and killed by the car Stewart was driving during a race on the dirt track last Saturday, and after that discussion decided that the track will once again open to racing this coming Saturday.
Here is the statement in full:
"Up until today I could not even think about another show at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. I spoke to Kevin Ward Sr. this morning and he encouraged me to 'get back to racing at CMP, Kevin would want you to.' I consulted with all my staff also today as well as my family. Everyone has said that we need to begin to heal and that means we need to come together this Saturday night and put on a show in memory of Kevin Jr. and support this great sport that we all love. We need to show our support of everyone that was involved and has been affected.
"We will be racing this Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park to show the world how strong we are as a racing family! How we can grieve together and come together. I ask that everyone wear something Orange to display our unity! We will be doing something special at the track on Saturday night.
"I want to thank everyone for the integrity you have shown in your comments on our Facebook page and for the support you have given my family, all my staff, every racer, and all the fans that have been deeply affected. I am forever grateful” Godspeed#13"
Last Saturday night, Ward's No. 13 car and Stewart's No. 14 tangled, sending Ward's car into the outside wall and bringing out a caution. Afterward, Ward exited his vehicle and walked onto the track, gesturing toward Stewart as the three-time Sprint Cup champion came back around. As Stewart's car passed, the rear tire struck Ward, throwing him an estimated 50 feet down the track and killing him. Racing at Canandaigua was canceled for the remainder of the night and the track has remained closed since.
Stewart did not run in the next day's Sprint Cup race in nearby Watkins Glen International, and it has yet to be determined whether he will race this weekend in Michigan.
Also on Tuesday, Ontario County sheriff Philip C. Povero, the man heading up the investigation into the incident, said in a statement to the media he expects the investigation "to continue for at least another two weeks or more." Stewart has not been charged in the incident, and on Monday Povero reiterated that no evidence supports charges against the 43-year-old.