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NASCAR reacts to death of Kevin Ward Jr. in Tony Stewart accident

Stock Car RacingAuto RacingOpen-Wheel RacingJimmie JohnsonStewart-Haas RacingTony StewartDale Earnhardt, Jr.
Tony Stewart will not race Sunday after being involved in an accident that killed a dirt track racer Saturday
NASCAR officials and drivers react to the accident that claimed the life of sprint car racer Kevin Ward Jr.

Reaction to the death of Kevin Ward Jr. was predictable and heartfelt as NASCAR starts to figure out how to deal with this tragic situation.

Ward was struck by a sprint car driven by NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart on Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York. Ward was pronounced dead at the hospital later in the night.

Stewart originally said he would race Sunday at Watkins Glen International Raceway in New York but had a change of heart overnight and withdrew from the race. NASCAR allowed the Stewart-Haas Racing team to substitute driver Regan Smith in his place.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and fellow competitors of Kevin Ward, Jr.,” NASCAR said in a statement. “We support Tony Stewart’s decision to miss today’s race and we will continue to respect the process and timeline of the local authorities and will continue to monitor the situation going forward.”

Brett Jewkes, NASCAR director of communications, issued a similar thought over Twitter.

“Thoughts & prayers for all impacted by accident in NY last night, especially family of Kevin Ward, Jr. Heartbreaking for everyone,” Jewkes wrote.

A couple of the sports’ biggest names also weighed in via Twitter.

“We will all loose someone in our time,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrote. “When a loss is sudden and unexpected, the pain & sadness is suffocating. Prayers for the Ward family.”

Jimmie Johnson said this: “Racing with a heavy heart today... Thoughts and prayers for the Ward family.”

Sunday’s Sprint Cup was scheduled for 10 a.m. Pacific time.

LATEST UPDATES: Tony Stewart will not race Sunday

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Stock Car RacingAuto RacingOpen-Wheel RacingJimmie JohnsonStewart-Haas RacingTony StewartDale Earnhardt, Jr.
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