The Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff’s Department has announced that the ongoing investigation into the fatal sprint car crash on Aug. 9 that involved Tony Stewart and killed Kevin Ward Jr. will continue “for at least another two weeks.”
Sheriff Philip C. Povero released the following statement less than an hour ago:
The investigation into the death of Kevin A. Ward Jr., which occurred August 9, 2014, at the Canandaigua, New York Motorsports Park will continue for at least another two weeks. The Ontario County Office of Sheriff has reviewed this investigation, as it has been developed to date, with members of the District Attorney’s Office. The Office of Sheriff will continue to apprise the District Attorney of information as it is developed. When the investigation is completed, the news media will be advised as to what action will be taken. The Ontario County Office of Sheriff thanks all media outlets for their patience and understanding as we continue to thoroughly investigate this tragic crash.
Philip C. Povero, Sheriff
Ontario County, New York
Povero last addressed the media about the investigation on Aug. 12, saying that it would “continue for at least another two weeks or more” as investigators sought to “seek witnesses, gather evidence, and develop the racetrack crash reconstruction.”
As the investigation has progressed, Povero has maintained that no evidence has emerged to suggest criminal intent from any party involved in the Aug. 9 tragedy.
Ward Jr., 20, was struck and killed by Stewart’s car after he walked down the racing surface to confront him following an on-track incident between the two. He was laid to rest on Aug. 14, and the site of the crash, Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park, has since resumed racing.
Stewart will make his return to NASCAR Sprint Cup competition this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has addressed the media at AMS this afternoon; reading from a prepared statement, he acknowledged the tragedy as “a sadness and a pain that I hope no one ever has to experience in their life.”
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.