Sunday will mark a year since the tragic death of Kevin Ward Jr. after Tony Stewart struck and killed the 20-year-old driver. Nearly a year to the date of the fatal incident, Ward’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stewart.
Ward Jr. exited his sprint car after contact with Stewart at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Aug. 9 and walked down the track to confront him. Stewart made contact with Ward, killing him on the track.
Stewart was not charged by prosecutors and it was revealed that Ward had enough marijuana in his system to impair his judgement. But the Ward family still feel Stewart was in the wrong and should be found at fault for the death of their son.
“Our son was truly the light of our lives and we miss him terribly every day,” Ward’s parents said in a statement. “Our hope is that this lawsuit will hold Tony Stewart responsible for killing our son and show him there are real consequences when someone recklessly takes another person’s life.”
This weekend marks the first time Stewart will race at Watkins Glen in the last three years. After missing the race last year following Ward’s death and the previous race after breaking his leg in a sprint car. While he was second in the final practice at the track, this will obviously be weighing heavy on his mind again.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be the same from what happened the last two years. I don’t know how you could be,” Stewart recently told reporters at Texas Motor Speedway. “I don’t know how anybody ever could be back to exactly the way they were.
“I’m trying to not think about it. You guys are the first ones to bring it up this week. Unfortunately, I have a feeling it’s going to get brought up a lot this week, but it doesn’t help you continue to move forward with it.”
Now the story is front and center again in the midst of a trying season for the Stewart-Haas Racing owner. He’ll be looking for his sixth win at Watkins Glen, but it certainly won’t be easy to focus on the track with the legal troubles off of it.
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