One of the questions that’s been asked over the last few days since the accident Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park that ultimately claimed Kevin Ward Jr.’s life was why Tony Stewart was racing there in the first place.
The simple answer is because he can, and because he wants to.
Stewart has returned to the dirt track scene this season following his recovery from last year’s accident at Iowa where he broke his leg and was ruled out for the remainder of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
In his first race back, he won. A Michigan dirt track owner praised Stewart’s presence at the event. But Stewart understandably faced a melancholy return to Iowa in his first race back there, which occurred last week.
As time permits, Stewart races his sprint car on dirt tracks around the country. It’s something he’s done for the entirety of his career; it fuels him and ignites his passion.
As his own team boss at Stewart-Haas Racing, Stewart can make the call as to whether he wants to keep going on dirt. Even though he’s been through a rough stretch of accidents in the last year or so, he still is inclined to keep going.
So Saturday night, he went to yet another small dirt track in New York, and raced. It would have been a bigger surprise had he not gone.
Sadly, this race featured tragic consequences.