Motorsport

Published: Tuesday August 12, 2014 MYT 1:38:36 AM
Updated: Tuesday August 12, 2014 MYT 1:38:41 AM

Autopsy set for driver fatally struck by NASCAR's Stewart

CANANDAIGUA N.Y. (Reuters) - An autopsy will be performed Monday on Kevin Ward Jr., the 20-year-old sprint car driver who was killed over the weekend after being struck on a New York race track by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart, Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero said.

Investigators also completed a reconstruction of the crash that led to Ward's death at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York, he said.

"The investigators are conducting interviews," Povero said. "They're completing some of the forensic work. We're moving forward as expeditiously and efficiently as possible."

A small memorial of daisies and sunflowers was set up on Monday at the 61-year-old dirt track where Ward died.

Race fan Jim Natoli, 66, of nearby Manchester, New York, was surrounded by news crews as he stopped to pay his respects.

"It's very safe track," he said. "They have races here every week. It's a terrible tragedy."

Ward, whose website said he began racing go karts at age 4, was sent into an outside wall after bumping cars with Stewart, a three-time NASCAR champion, on Saturday night.

As the caution flag went out, Ward left his car apparently in an attempt to confront Stewart, who continued driving around the track. As Ward angrily pointed at Stewart on the next lap, Stewart's car wobbled slightly, fatally striking Ward.

No charges have been filed against Stewart, a 43-year-old multimillionaire NASCAR driver and owner.

Following the accident, Stewart decided not to race the following day at Watkins Glen, a NASCAR track about an hour's drive away from Canandaigua.

His status for the Michigan 400 on Sunday has not yet been determined.

The autopsy will take place at Canandaigua's F.F. Thompson Hospital, where Ward was pronounced dead following the accident, Povero said.

(Writing by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Frank McGurty and Gunna Dickson)

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