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Fans react to Tony Stewart crash
Watkins Glen, N.Y. -- The Sprint NASCAR Cup was exactly the kind of race fans wanted to see. There was a lot of action, a tight finish but all of that excitement was clouded with sadness and a lot of questions.
The fatal crash at a small dirt track in Canandaigua cast a shadow over the big event in Watkins Glen Sunday.
Twelve hours before the race, NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck and killed a driver during a Sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
20-year-old Kevin Ward, Jr. was spun out by Stewart and his car went into the outside wall. Video taken from the stands showed Ward exiting the car and walking out onto the track. He pointed at Stewart, obviously upset, and then was hit and killed by Stewart's car.
"I don't think Tony put him into the wall on purpose, I think that was a racing accident, then unfortunately the young man jumped out of the car, got on the track which he never should have done," Tom Werth said. "The tragedy was the result of two immature, bad decisions.
"My guess is he tried to throw some dirt on him revved his wheels, the car came out from under him and unfortunately took him out. It's very, very sad, unfortunate all the way around, for Tony, Mr. Ward and all of us here in racing."
Stewart was absent from the track Sunday, Stewart pulled out of the race a couple hours before it started.
"It's really something, poor Tony Stewart again," said NASCAR fan Ken Asel. "You know it's such a shame because he's had such bad luck."
While the police investigation is ongoing, opinions among NASCAR fans are split, many questioned if Stewart intentionally sped up or if he couldn't see the driver on the track.
Spectator Mike Melveney said, "They are local people, Canandaigua is a small town, a small track- it's too bad for them, too bad for them. Too bad that it happened to Tony Stewart because if it was anyone else that had hit him, I don't even think you'd be asking me the same questions."
Known to be one of the "bad boys" of NASCAR, fans said Stewart has been known be a hothead. Werth said, "We make decisions in the heat of the moment and both of them will are going to pay for the rest of their lives one man with his life and Tony for the rest of his life taking that life so it's very, very sad."
Fans agreed, no matter what the circumstances, Ward's death is a tragedy and most agreed that it the right thing for Stewart to not race Sunday.