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Oklahoma City area sprint car drivers Danny Jennings and Joe Wood Jr. weigh in on Tony Stewart tragedy

Danny Jennings and Joe Wood Jr. have both raced against Tony Stewart. Both city-area sprint car drivers say the superstar is a clean racer and would not do anything on purpose to mar the sport — much less kill someone.
by Scott Munn Published: August 11, 2014
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photo - In this April 11, 2014, photo, Tony Stewart stands in the garage during practice for a NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Darlington Speedway in Darlington, S.C. Authorities are investigating a serious crash that injured one person Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, at a New York dirt track where Stewart was racing on the eve of a NASCAR race. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
In this April 11, 2014, photo, Tony Stewart stands in the garage during practice for a NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Darlington Speedway in Darlington, S.C. Authorities are investigating a serious crash that injured one person Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, at a New York dirt track where Stewart was racing on the eve of a NASCAR race. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Danny Jennings and Joe Wood Jr. have both raced against Tony Stewart. Both city-area sprint car drivers say the superstar is a clean racer and would not do anything on purpose to mar the sport — much less kill someone.

Stewart is in the news, and it’s for nothing he did on a NASCAR track. On Saturday night, while competing in a dirt sprint car race in Canandaigua, N.Y., the open-wheeler Stewart was piloting hit Kevin Ward Jr.

The 20-year-old Ward was flung several feet forward and suffered fatal injuries, just moments after he exited his disabled sprinter to confront Stewart on the track. Ward was angry with Stewart after the two raced hard side-by-side through the first and second turns at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Ward’s car came in contact with the retaining wall and nearly flipped.

“You never know what another driver is going to do when they get out of their car,” said Jennings, a six-time champion at State Fair Speedway. “I’ve been mad before, but if you’ve got something to settle with another driver, you wait until after the race and do it in the pits. You don’t do it on the race track like that.”

Jennings and Wood saw video of the accident, which has been watched by millions on YouTube. They agreed that Stewart did not purposely run Ward’s car into the retaining wall.

“It was just hard racing,” Jennings said.

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by Scott Munn
Sports Assistant Editor
Scott Munn joined The Oklahoman/Oklahoma City Times sports staffs in October 1982. He spent a year as a formcharter, three years on the desk and 16 as a reporter. Scott has spent the last nine years as an evening assistant sports editor. Scott's...
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