Tony Stewart believed that he did nothing wrong on Aug. 9, when he was involved in a fatal sprint car accident at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park that took the life of 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr.
Even so, Stewart was worried about the possibility that he would face criminal charges. That worry only went away when a New York state grand jury declined to indict him last week.
“Anytime you’re facing something like that and your fate is in someone else’s hands, it’s natural to be fearful,” Stewart said today in a press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing headquarters in North Carolina.
“But all along I knew what the facts are. I knew what had happened, and I know what happened. I think through the process of the sheriff’s department and the district attorney and going to a 23-person grand injury, all the facts were presented and their decision spoke. It was what I knew.”
Any feeling of alleviation quickly vanished. Stewart may have been exonerated, but Ward was still gone.
“I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a piece of relief, but that was very short lived in my heart,” Stewart said. “Because as quickly as it was relief in my heart, it was at the same time it went right back to the fact that we lost Kevin.
“We lost a young driver that had a lot of talent.”
You can check out more of Stewart’s thoughts in the clip above.