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In wake of Stewart accident, local dirt track owners react | News

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In wake of Stewart accident, local dirt track owners react


NASCAR driver Tony Stewart chose not to race at Watkins Glen Sunday afternoon after he was involved in a deadly dirt-track accident Saturday night.

During the race, 20 year-old driver Kevin Ward Junior was spun out by Stewart. When Ward got out of his car to show his anger, Stewart's car came around the corner and hit him. Ward was pronounced dead on arrival to the hospital.

East Tennessee is very welcoming of dirt track racing. Brad Hall grew up on a racetrack and knows how to maintain a dirt-track.

"It's kind of a little bit of an art in someways and a little bit of mother nature in some ways. And sometimes it's just luck," said Hall.

His family bought the Tazewell Speedway, making racing an even bigger part of his life. It's where he's seen his fair share of amazing victories, and also his fair share of accidents.

"Anytime that you get two people that have worked all week long on their race car that they spend thousands of dollars on, they are going to get angry and frustrated when things don't go their ways" said Hall.

Hall said confrontations happen, but he never expected to see something like what happened Saturday night.

"I hated to see what happened last night on a number of different fronts," said Hall. "The Ward family obviously has a big loss. And there is nothing in the world that can fathom that. Obviously Tony Stewart was involved and he has things he will have to live with in his life."

Authorities are investigating what happened, but as of Sunday night, no charges have been filed against Stewart. As a racer himself, Hall is familiar with the risks of the sport and will continue to enforce safety regulations at his track.

"Racing in general; dirt racing is not a bad sport. There are a lot of safety factors that are a good thing for dirt racing. Anything can happen. A lot of times things go wrong in sports. A fan can be hit by a foul ball. Tragedies happen, accidents do happen," said Hall.

They follow regulations to keep in line with the sport's principles. One of those principles disqualifies a driver if he or she gets out of their vehicle, except for a fire or an emergency: confrontation results in disqualification.

And in New York, investigators are just beginning to look at the events that led to Ward Jr.'s death.


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