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Accident reconstructionists investigate Stewart race incident

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Accident reconstructionists are working at the Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park this morning, investigating how a sprint car driven by Columbus native Tony Stewart struck and killed 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr. Saturday night.

Ward’s autopsy is being conducted today and results are not expected until later this week, Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero said this morning.

Both sprint cars were examined by investigators and were then returned to the race teams, Povero said.

Investigators do not know if Stewart owned the sprint car he was driving or if it was loaned from another race team.

Povero confirmed that Ward’s parents were at the track watching the race when their son was struck by Stewart’s car.

Stewart was racing a sprint car on the dirt track the night before he was to compete in the Watkins Glen NASCAR race.

Ward had crashed at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday following a bump with Stewart in Lap 14 of a 25-lap sprint car race at the dirt track. A video shows the two drivers racing side by side for position as they exited Turn 2. Ward was on the outside when Stewart, on the inside of the track, appears to slide toward Ward’s car and crowd him toward the wall. Ward’s car spins into the fence and a caution is called. The video shows Ward getting out of his car and walking to the center of the racetrack, gesturing toward approaching drivers, including Stewart.

As the cars approach Ward, one car swerves to avoid Ward and Ward was then struck by Stewart’s car. Ward was standing to the right of Stewart’s moving sprint car, which seemed to kick out from the rear and hit Ward, according to the video.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.

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