Sheriff: Stewart/Ward investigation may continue for another “2 weeks or more”

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In a media briefing this afternoon, Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero said that the investigation into Saturday’s fatal sprint car crash that involved NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and killed Kevin Ward Jr. may continue for at least two more weeks.

Before reading from a prepared statement, Povero said that he would not take any questions from the assembled media.

He then read the statement, which goes as follows:

“The investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr., of Lewis County, is ongoing and is expected to continue for at least another two weeks or more. Investigators continue to seek witnesses, gather evidence, and develop the racetrack crash reconstruction.

“However, it would be inappropriate to discuss details or findings of the investigation with the media at this time. I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation as the Ontario County Office of Sheriff continues this investigation, and for having patience as we conduct a thorough review of all the relevant facts involving this tragic crash.

“When the investigation is completed, we will meet with members of the Ontario County District Attorney’s Office and discuss with them all aspects of the investigation into the crash that occurred on Aug. 9, 2014 at the Canandaigua [Motorsports Park].

“At that time, more information relating to any determinations that have been made may be released. In closing, on behalf of the Ontario County Office of Sheriff, we thank all of you for your patience, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family of Kevin Ward Jr.”

In yesterday’s media briefing, Povero stated – as he did on Sunday – that as of now, there was no evidence of criminal intent from any party involved in Saturday’s incident.

He also confirmed Ward’s cause of death as “massive blunt trauma” per the county’s coroner. Visitation for Ward is scheduled for tomorrow at a funeral home in Boonville, New York; his funeral is Thursday.

Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
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The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

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