Tag Archives: Canandaigua Motorsports Park

Tony Stewart Has Been Exonerated in the Death of Kevin Ward Jr.

Saturday Night August 9th, Tony Stewart was in an accident that caused the death of fellow Sprint Car racer Kevin Ward Jr. Read about the incident here from Dustin Long at MRN: Driver Killed In Incident With Stewart.

At the time of the accident the local authorities found no reason to charge Stewart with any crime. Days later, they back tracked and proceeded with a full investigation. After that investigation was complete, they submitted the results to the District Attorney. The district Attorney decided that the matter should be sent to a Grand Jury to determine if charges were warranted. The Grand Jury has come back finding there is nothing that would warrant criminal charges. He was exonerated!

Technically he wasn’t exonerated because Tony Stewart would have had to have actually been charged with something and been convicted. In the media there were some articles and commentary that read like he had. On social media sites, some people were commenting the same. It is unfortunate because in the United States of America you are innocent until proven guilty.

When prepping to write this I was discussing the issue with my daughter. She wanted to know for herself what happened. When beginning to search on YouTube, she typed “Tony Ste” and before she could finish up came “Tony Stewart Kills Man”.

When the tragic accident occurred, the titles written were salacious and convicting at the same time. If you are innocent until proven guilty why would one write such a title? Especially since these titles live on forever on the internet. It’s done to get viewers. I even did it with my title on this article.

There is hope for Stewart; it has only been a few hours and if you Google Tony Stewart there is an overwhelming number of articles about him being cleared. Those salacious ones are still there, but they are buried deep in the list.

Unfortunately in social media there will always be people who made up their mind via those salacious titles and articles. They are still there. It’s disturbing because we do have a pretty good video. It shows racing. It shows a driver wrecking not unlike what happens just about every Saturday night in America. It shows a driver getting out of his car and walking down the track while cars are still running. It shows the same driver getting hit by a driver. That is what the jury saw.

The tragedy of this will live with Tony Stewart forever; as it will with every race fan that has seen it. It will live with Kevin Ward Jr’s family forever too. One can only hope that the Jury has spoken and that we can move on, heal and get back to racing.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 286607 Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

Tony Stewart Has a Big Hill to Climb

It has been the talk of the media and social media since late last Saturday Night August 9th. Tony Stewart was in an accident that caused the death of fellow Sprint Car racer Kevin Ward Jr. Read about the incident here from Dustin Long at MRN: Driver Killed In Incident With Stewart. I have been reluctant to write about it because it is so tragic. My prayers go out to Kevin Ward Jr. and his family. They also go out to Tony Stewart. Watching this get reported and talked about in all media has been very painful for me.

First and foremost I am not a journalist; I am a NASCAR and racing fan who has gone on to write about it. What has gone on in the mainstream media scares me. It has been totally irresponsible. No matter what you think about Tony Stewart, in America you are innocent until proven guilty. As of this writing, there are no charges against Stewart and none pending. The local investigators stated it will take two weeks until they are done with their investigation.

Innocent until proven guilty! Here are some article titles: “Tony Stewart struck, killed driver in sprint car.” Fox Sports. “Tony Stewart Hits, Kills Out-Of-Car Racer” CBS. Though these titles are technically accurate, they lead the reader somewhere that may or not be true. They read like he purposely did this. There are many more even more salacious and wrong titles out there.

Here is an attempt to be more accurate: “NASCAR’s Tony Stewart allegedly hits, kills driver at dirt-track race in New York” CNN. Well he didn’t allegedly hit him, I saw it on TV. I liked Dustin Long’s title; it was the most accurate of them all.

I don’t want to be the one calling this out. I know some of these media people, but I live in the internet. That is what I do. These titles live on for eternity. One has to get the reader, via the search engines in 70 characters or less. Google Tony Stewart Murder, it’s awful even though he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

I know a truck driver who witnessed a kid who lost control of his bike and was run over by another truck. It is just as tragic as what happened at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. When that story was reported, the title wasn’t “Enter Name Here Struck, Killed Kid on Bike”; only for the title to live on the internet in perpetuity for the poor truck driver regardless of what the investigation proves or does not. Why is Tony Stewart different?

I have purposely refrained from reporting on and commentating on the accident between Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr. I wasn’t there. I only saw a video on ESPN. Every time I tried to write about the subject it was impossible for me to not get sucked into the abyss of speculation and conjecture. Jerry Bonkowski laid it out better than I ever could in his article “Don’t be too quick to judge Tony Stewart, let the experts do their jobs.

Unfortunately even if the investigation comes out that it was simply an accident that may have been preventable, the damage to Tony Stewart and his career is done. Hopefully something good can come out of this but right now it doesn’t look that way. To me as a super race fan it is truly horrible. We just might lose one of the best drivers of all time over this.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 297144 Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images