Wendi Ward, the aunt of Kevin Ward Jr., the driver killed by Tony Stewart’s car at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park on August 9, issued an open letter that questions the relevance of the marijuana posthumously found in her nephew’s system and wonders why Tony Stewart drove incautiously under a caution flag.
Ward walked onto the track and was hit by Stewart’s car during a sprint-car race. Ms. Ward read the letter to USA Today.
Ward addressed the marijuana issue by writing, “It’s known to mellow a person. We understand that the report showed marijuana, but we as a family don’t believe he was under the influence or impaired at the time due to the 10 hours prior to the race that he spent with the family.” She noted that the drug shows up on tests for weeks after its inhalation.
Slamming Stewart for his carelessness, she added:
Tell me why Tony Stewart was not taken in for testing, why his car wasn’t impounded. Tell me how a man the size of Kevin can make a sprint car turn to the right on impact. Tell me how a lap before (the incident) everything was fine, but the following lap was poor lighting. Tell me how a NASCAR star totally forgot what caution means. Maybe he should get a different headset so he is able to hear on the radio that the car in caution is up high, so go low. Or was he low until he rounded the corner and saw Kevin Jr. standing up for himself?
The complete text of Ward’s statement can be found here.
Wendi Ward is not the first member of the ward family to blast Stewart; his mother had already stated that the family “will pursue all remedies in fairness to Kevin. Our son got out of his car during caution while the race was suspended, all other vehicles were reducing speed and not accelerating, except for Tony Stewart who intentionally tried to intimidate Kevin but accelerating and sliding his car towards him causing this tragedy.”
Ward’s father stated last month, “Tony Stewart was the best damn driver by far on the track that night. Why he had to go up as high as he did and hog my son, there’s no reason for it…. The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?”
Stewart, on the other hand, spoke to the press Monday morning and quietly insisted that the incident was an unintentional, saying, “I know what happened. I know it was an accident.”
He added that although he doesn’t have a personal need to speak to Ward’s family, he wouldn’t be averse to a conversation: “At this point, I want to be available to them if they want to talk about it.”