Veteran NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick on Sunday criticized what he called "a lot of just crazy press" about the fatal incident involving his team co-owner Tony Stewart.
Harvick, who finished second behind Jeff Gordon in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, drives the No. 4 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.
He was asked about the reaction to the Aug. 9 incident in which Stewart's car struck and killed 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr. while Ward was on foot during a sprint-car race in upstate New York.
Stewart and Ward were racing side-by-side at a small dirt track when Ward's car hit the outside fence and crashed. Ward then climbed from his car and, as the caution flag came out, he appeared to be angrily gesturing toward Stewart when he was hit as Stewart circled back around.
No charges have been filed against Stewart, but the incident remains under investigation by local law-enforcement authorities.
"It has been a difficult week," Harvick said, adding that he had not spoken to Stewart since the incident. "I think the hardest part for me has been the way the whole media thing has shaken down.
"You have one young man who is dead," Harvick said. "You've got a guy that we know ... just getting a lot of just crazy press.
"I've known Tony Stewart for a long time," Harvick continued. "I still don't believe that he even knew that he ran into that car. I know for sure that Tony Stewart is not going to run over somebody that's on a race track.
"You have just a lot of unknowledgeable people reporting on a situation that know absolutely nothing about racing," Harvick said. "It's just really unfortunate, the perception that has been given to him."
Gordon also said he had not spoken with Stewart. "I have reached out to him through texts, knowing that I'm not going to get a response, but just to let him know I was thinking about him," he said.
"I just can't imagine what he's going through," Gordon said. "[I] can't imagine what the Ward family is going through. But I support Tony, definitely support him."