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.

Al Unser Jr. to race Pikes Peak Hill Climb for first time in 29 years

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Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is coming out of retirement to race again.

Unser Jr., who turns 56 on April 19, will compete in the 96th Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 24. It will be the first time Unser has raced at Pikes Peak in 29 years, since the 1989 event.

Unser won the Hill Climb and was named “King of the Mountain” in the 1983 event.

Unser said in 2007 that he was retiring from racing and had no plans to race in the future. However, he has taken part since then in some selected vintage racing events.

Speaking of vintage cars, Unser is slated to drive a 1936 Chevrolet Sedan in this year’s Hill Climb, according to race organizers.

He’ll compete with a number of luminaries including eight-time Hill Climb winner Paul Dallenbach; Layne Schranz, who will be competing in his 25th “Race to the Clouds”; 23-time champion Clint Vahsholtz; 25-time Hill Climb competitor David Schmidt II and three-time Climb winner Spencer Steele.

Unser recently returned to IndyCar racing as a consultant with Harding Racing, which is beginning its first full season in the series with Gabby Chaves behind the wheel.