Local racing community reacts to Kevin Ward death - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Local racing community reacts to Kevin Ward death

BYRAM, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The investigation continues into a deadly race car accident over the weekend in New York that took the life of Kevin Ward.

Kevin Ward Jr., a New York sprint car driver who was killed Saturday night after an on-track incident with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, died of "massive blunt trauma," authorities said Monday.

Video shows the last chilling minutes of Ward's life when he gets out of his car to confront Tony Stewart during a race in upstate New York Saturday.  The confrontation started when Stewart allegedly caused Ward's car to hit a wall and spin out.

"He kind of thought Tony took him out but you know it's just adrenaline of a race car driver and I think him being younger kind of got overboard there," said Jimmy Cliburn, a local race car driver.

Stewart is not facing any criminal charges for Ward's death. Officials say there was no evidence at this point that a crime has been committed.

Local drivers in Jackson say the accident could have been avoided because Ward should have never got out of the car.

"It's always a tragic thing to see a death at a race track," said Cliburn, who's been racing for 21 years. "No matter what track your at you always stay in the cock pit of your car."

At Jackson Motor Speedway, drivers are trained for the worse case scenarios.

"We inspect our seatbelts and the helmets, we have rules and regulations," said Don Cliburn, Owner of Jackson Motor Speedway.

Cliburn says he doesn't believe Stewart intentionally meant to kill Ward.  He says his vision may have been skewed.

"With him being dressed in all black and where he was at on the race track, yeah it hampered Tony's vision I believe and me personally I don't think he ever saw him on a race track," said Cliburn.

The lesson to be learned from this accident:

"Always stay in your race car. It's a very hard lesson to learn it's a tragic accident hopefully everyone would learn from this what the outcome would be," said Cliburn.

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