Tony Stewart will not race Sunday following the death of a sprint car driver who was struck and killed by Stewart at an upstate New York dirt track.
Greg Zipadelli, competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, said the three-time NASCAR champion "feels strongly" he should not race at Watkins Glen following Kevin Ward Jr.'s fatal accident.
Regan Smith will replace Stewart in the car.
Ward had climbed from his car on the darkened dirt track and was trying to confront Stewart when he was struck Saturday night.
Kevin Ward Jr.'s family says it "appreciates all the prayer and support" but that members "would like time to grieve" a day after Ward was killed on a racetrack when he was hit by a car driven by NASCAR star Tony Stewart.
Here is the official statement from Stewart:
“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.”
Authorities say NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck and killed a driver who was walking on a dirt track during a race in upstate New York.
A video of the crash Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park showed driver Kevin Ward Jr. stepping toward Stewart's car before being hit and hurtled 50 feet.
The Ontario County Sheriff's Department would not identify the driver but said he was pronounced dead on arrival Saturday night at a hospital in Canandaigua.
Sheriff Philip Povero says the 42-year-old Stewart was "fully cooperative" as he was questioned and released. Povero says the investigation is not criminal.
A spokesman for Stewart called the incident a tragic accident. In a statement released Sunday morning, a representative for Stewart says, "our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends." The statement says Stewart's team is still trying to sort through the details of the accident.
Team manager Greg Zipadelli says Stewart will race in NASCAR's event Sunday at Watkins Glen, calling the race "business as usual."