Monday, August 11, 2014

I Just Don’t Know – Kevin Ward Jr. Tragedy

Before I begin my diatribe I need to make a couple of things very clear to our readers. I am not a NASCAR fan. I rarely watch a race and when I do it's the last few laps. I don't care who wins or loses and I don't follow the sport. The little I know about NASCAR I learn from reading sports stories.

Not only am I not a NASCAR fan, I'm not a Tony Stewart fan. So why am I writing a NASCAR article? Because it's a sports story. It's a very big story with a very human side to it.

I've watched the video that shows Tony Stewart hitting (killing) fellow racer Kevin Ward Jr. (see video below). Kevin Ward left his vehicle to confront Tony Stewart during a caution after Stewart’s car hit the car of Ward, causing him to have an accident.

There is nothing in the video(s) that I’ve seen that shows that this accident was intentional. It looks like it was an accident but who really knows? I sure don’t. Here are some undeniable facts relating to the incident that tragically killed Ward Jr.

Ward Left His Car

Kevin Ward left his car after his car was hit by Tony Stewart. A caution was given. Then Ward left his car. While there was a caution, cars were still moving around the track. It didn't look like it was safe to enter the track. It was night time.

Drivers are not supposed to get out of their cars during cautions but Kevin Ward Jr. did so. Then tragically, Ward was struck by Stewart and killed.

Many people on sports boards are claiming that Stewart is guilty of a crime. I just don't see it in the video but I will continue with the facts.

Tony Stewart Was Behind another Car That Was Able to Avoid Ward

There are those people who claim that the video shows that Stewart was either trying to scare Ward or drove negligently, causing Ward's death. Once again I can't see that in the video. I would have to be a psychic to be able to understand what Tony Stewart was thinking at the time of the accident.

What I can see is that Stewart was behind another car that avoided Ward. Then Stewart struck Ward who was moving towards Stewart's vehicle.

The track was a dirt track and NASCAR stock cars were not being driven that night. So I'll assume that the type of car being driven handles differently than a NASCAR stock car, especially on dirt. Yes, this was a dirt track.

Ward Was Wearing Black

Kevin Ward Jr. was wearing a black race suit. From the video (above) it looks like it would be hard for another driver to see Ward, especially if a driver's view of Ward was blocked. It was night time and the black suit was not easy to see.

I'm not a professional race car driver so I don't know for sure but my guess is that it would be hard to see another racer on the track if that racer was wearing a black race suit, it was dark that night and I was behind another car.

Obviously professional race car drivers have better reaction time than I do and are trained to react in a second or less at high speeds to avoid possible danger. I'm sure when the danger isn't greatly visible the reaction to dangerous situations is much more difficult.

Track Was Poorly Lit (It was Night Time)

It is being reported that the track was poorly lit on Saturday night. You can see that in the video. I had a hard time seeing what exactly happened. I can't see how you can prove negligence or intent in the video that I saw. Maybe in the coming days new video will surface that will provide us with more facts about what happened. Until that happens I can only go by what I saw in the video above.

I think that it's obvious that the lighting on the track was poor. Hopefully track officials around the country will work to provide better lighting for night races. Everything needs to be done to prevent this type of accident from occurring again.

Stewart Has Entered the Track Before (So What?)

There are some Einstein's on message boards claiming that Tony Stewart has confronted drivers on the track in a similar fashion than Kevin Ward. Who cares? That has no, nada, zero, zilcho, nothing to do with this accident. These are separate incidents and should be treated that way.

Even if you disagree with me, you would see in the other incidents that it was either daylight or the track was properly lit (you could see Stewart). Tony Stewart was also wearing a white racing suit. He could be seen. There was little to no danger in those incidents involving Stewart.

With all the facts that I saw in the video (Ward leaving car, track being poorly lit, Stewart behind another car, etc.), I can't conclude that this was anything but an accident. It doesn't look like this was an intentional or even a negligent act on the part of Stewart but I don't know.

There aren't enough facts for me to ascertain that Steward acted in an inappropriate manner. What I do know is that this incident is a tragedy. A young man, with a promising career is gone. That's terrible and extremely unfortunate.

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  1. Common sense approach to this article. Unless a video from a different angle, some sort of radio communication, or an admission of guilt (and intent) by TS is released, this is nothing more than an avoidable racing tragedy. I hate to be callous, but KW Jr. should have never left his car. While no one should be killed, even for gross stupidity, unless something else comes up to prove otherwise, this is all on KW Jr.

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