Tony Stewart seemed in good spirits Friday at Dover International Speedway, his first race weekend since a New York grand jury declined to charge him in the death of Kevin Ward Jr., who was killed when he was struck by Stewart’s car during a sprint car race Aug. 9.
Stewart made no public comments at the track but did speak to the Associated Press on Thursday night and said the incident was “100 percent an accident.”
Stewart also told the AP it would be a long time “if ever” before he competed in sprint car races again.
On Friday, drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. expressed support for Stewart now that the criminal process is over but also kept their thoughts with Ward’s family.
“First and foremost, I don’t want to ignore that it was a massive tragedy that took place. From a friend perspective and worrying about Tony, understanding what he’s gone through and how tough that it has been on him, I’m sure there’s some type of relief that it’s kind of done in that respect,” Johnson said.
“It’s such a tragedy to have these details come out and people potentially forming sides. There’s just no good in that. It’s just been a terrible accident.”
Said Earnhardt: “I feel a sadness in my heart from the Ward family. At the same time, you get something in the pit of your stomach, this fear for Tony at what he’s having to deal with.”
Stewart could still face a civil suit from the incident.
Ross Kenseth to make superspeedway debut: Ross Kenseth, the son of Cup Series veteran Matt Kenseth, will attempt to make his first start of the season in the Automobile Racing Club of America series in the Oct. 3 season finale at Kansas Speedway.
Ross, 21, will drive the No. 3 Chevrolet for RACE 101 and it will be his first career start on a track 1-mile or more in distance. Kenseth has made one previous ARCA start, winning the pole and finishing sixth last year at Madison, Wis.
“I think Kansas presents a lot of challenges for us with this being our first race together. We’re all going in with realistic expectations, but I’m certainly going to do whatever I can to make the most of this opportunity and get this team the best finish possible,” Ross said.
Ross Kenseth has won over 30 late model races throughout the country over the past six years, including the prestigious Winchester 400 and All-American 400 in 2012. He’s second in the ARCA/CRA Super Series championship standings this season with two races remaining in that series’ season.
Services set Monday for Gordon Gibbs: A memorial service for Gordon Gibbs, a veteran NASCAR mechanic, car chief and pit crew member, is set for 7 p.m. Monday at Hartsell Funeral Home in Concord. Gibbs died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 56.
Gibbs most recently served as shop foreman at JR Motorsports. During his career he also worked in various capacities at Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Diamond Ridge Motorsports.
Memorials may be made to Glenn A. Kiser Hospice House, 1229 Statesville Blvd., Salisbury, NC 28144; or to Relay for Life, 1901 Brunswick Ave., Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28077.
Ryan Truex out at BK Racing: Ryan Truex confirmed to the Observer that he has parted ways with BK Racing, with who he has spent most of the season competing in the Cup series as a rookie.
BK Racing replaced Truex in the car last weekend at New Hampshire and again this weekend at Dover.
Truex competed in 23 of 28 races with the team this season with a best finish of 20th at the August race at Pocono (Pa.).