Conspiracy theorists need to take a break, Tony Stewart isn’t to blame

Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I don’t watch a whole lot of racing, but it’s hard to ignore the recent accident with NASCAR star Tony Stewart running over 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward last week, killing him.

From what I can tell in the video I’ve seen, Ward spins out and crashes against the outside wall of the track, just after coming out of a turn. He emerges from his car and begins walking toward traffic, for reasons I still haven’t been able to find out. A car or two slow down and swerve past him.

Almost immediately, Stewart’s car appears in view, looks to swerve, but clips Ward with its tire. Ward goes flying, people shriek from the stands and medics appear on the scene. Ward’s injuries were untreatable and he died.

Now Stewart is under fire. People have cooked up all sorts of conspiracy theories about how the accident was a well-timed murder. Lots of folks are screaming about how Stewart revved up his engine right as he was about to hit Ward.

It was brought to my attention that those dirt racing car they were driving operate similarly to boats and jet skis. It’s nearly impossible to turn directions without pressing on the gas. Based on the video, yes, Stewart does press on the gas, for the purpose of steering out of the way of Ward. Unfortunately, Stewart wasn’t able to react quickly enough.

For me, it’s difficult to see this from any angle other than an accident. Ward was wearing an all-black jumpsuit at night and wandering around in the middle of the track coming directly out of a turn. Did he honestly think that was the safest thing to do?

The case is still under investigation, but I don’t see any reason for Stewart to worry about legal charges.

The accident was horrible, and my prayers go out to Ward’s family for the loss of such a young driver. But it was just that, an accident.