Povero Monday update: Autopsy reveals massive blunt trauma; investigation still ongoing

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Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero provided a further update Monday afternoon on the investigation regarding the death of Kevin Ward Jr. after he was killed when contacted by the car driven by Tony Stewart.

Povero revealed that the autopsy took place today and has determined Ward Jr.’s cause of death.

“The autopsy was conducted today; the Ontario County Coroner has stated the cause of death was massive blunt trauma,” Povero told assembled reporters. “He has also issued a statement that there will be no further information released regarding the autopsy.”

As on Sunday, Povero confirmed there is still nothing that at this moment, no facts support criminal behavior or probable cause.

“As we speak at this time, there are no facts that exist that support any criminal behavior or conduct or any probable cause of a criminal act in this investigation. This is an open investigation,” Povero said.

“What I have just said is not indicative this is over or conclusions have been made, but it is open, and we continue to gather all information. No criminal charges have been placed against anyone.”

No timeline has been set for determining the end to this case.

“The Sheriff’s Office continues to look out for more video or eyewitness accounts,” Povero said. “We have two videos we have reviewed. We are also looking for persons outside, familiar with sprint racing, with dirt racing, to hopefully clearly understand the crash and determine as much facts as we can for it.

“There are no timelines set on this, although certainly we want to complete this investigation as quickly as possible,” Povero added. “Right now, we continue to work as quickly and expeditiously as possible to locate and evaluate relative information that may exist regarding this particular investigation.”

The aforementioned second video, Povero said, was also taken by a spectator and shows a different angle. It has not been released to the public; Povero said some facts are being held internally.

Stewart and his representatives continue to remain cooperative with law enforcement, Povero said.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.