After getting quite a bit of flak on social media for even considering racing in today’s Watkins Glen NASCAR event, Tony Stewart finally decided to pull out of the race. And a little while go he released a statement on the death of fellow racer Kevin Ward Jr., whom Stewart hit with his car while Ward was on the track during a Sprint Car race in upstate New York on Saturday night.
“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,” Stewart said in a statement released Sunday. “My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
After initially saying that it would be “business as usual” and that Stewart would race today, racing team manager Greg Zipadelli changed his tone earlier today and said that Stewart had decided not to race after “sleeping on it.”
“We feel strongly that this is the right thing to do,” Zipadelli said, calling Ward Jr.’s death “an unbelieveable tragedy.”
“He’s going through a tough time,” Zipadelli said of Stewart. “It’s emotional for him. We as a group support him. We feel like he’s doing the right thing.”
NASCAR supported Stewart’s decision and said that it would monitor the situation as the investigation continues. In a statement, NASCAR said that the organization’s “thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and fellow competitors of Kevin Ward Jr.”
READ: How Was Tony Stewart Even Thinking About Racing Today? [SportsGrid]