Local NASCAR fans react to fatal accident

Tony Stewart (Associated Press Photo)

BROOKVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – The sheriff in upstate New York said there’s no evidence showing criminal intent on Tony Stewart’s behalf in a deadly accident during a race.

The three-time NASCAR champion hit and killed another driver, Kevin Ward, who was walking on the track after his car spun out.

Stewart has ties to our area. He’s the owner of Eldora Speedway in Darke County.

2 NEWS contacted the general manager there who says, “Eldora Speedway sends our deepest condolences to the Ward family, their friends and the Central New York racing community.”

The tragic accident is a shock for the racing community.

Those who follow the sport closely are speaking out about what this means for the future of NASCAR.

“Obviously it is a tragedy. It’s something you don’t see everyday, it’s something you don’t see every year. It’s something that shouldn’t have happened,” said Cory Thrush.

Thrush and his family are from Brookville and sponsor a NASCAR.

They’ve met Tony Stewart many times.

“He’s a very, very good guy, great racer and great businessman. I keep using the word tragedy but it really is. It’s something that is going to affect him on a personal level, it’s going to affect his racing, and it’s going to affect his career and his business.”

Thrush said he still has a lot of questions as to why and how the accident occurred but he says crashes are not uncommon during races. Neither are tempers.

“Just like every sport, when it comes to baseball or football, we all thrive on that competition and the aggressiveness and that’s one of the things NASCAR builds upon; the speed of the sport, the impact of the wrecks,” said Thrush.

While he said the industry has cracked down a lot on attitudes and safety, he believes the fact Ward was struck outside of his car will start a new conversation.

“A lot of drivers will get out, evaluate the damage, see what’s happened, but now because of a tragedy like this, it may have actually, it could benefit the sport in the long run by saying to drivers stay in your cars unless it’s an absolute emergency where you are on fire, your car is ready to explode.”

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