I remember seeing him in re-runs (aka: my parent’s VHS archives) of the sitcom Mork and Mindy many many years after its broadcast and yet the humor and charm were strongly evident even for a little naïve child as myself, and whom wouldn’t burst out in laughter seeing him in deep disguise in Mrs. Doubtfire, his iconic role in Good Morning Vietnam, his Oscar win for Good Will Hunting, his ultimately out of ‘character’ and yet immaculately played role in the dark masterpiece Insomnia beside fellow silver screen icon Al Pacino, or for me his most beloved performance personally and likewise in his arguably most memorable role as the ever passionate and nurturing teacher in Dead Poets Society…one of my top 10 All Time Films ever (“carpe diem….a film which inspired endlessly and simply like no other) and still there was his unlimited and unguarded knack for humor as seen in his long celebrated stand up performances which live as legend and with seemingly endless accolades and memories in excellence in which I could literally go on and on about….and yet,
it’s the man we mourn today.
And most recently he’d been starring alongside Sarah Michelle Geller in “The Crazy Ones” which was airing on CBS and Robin Williams also reportedly had four films in the works as well.
Gone much too soon.
R.I.P. Robin Williams.
Tragedy at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York
(Viewer discretion is advised as this video is most graphic)
I’m sure you know I’m an avid race fan for all things NASCAR and particular it’s the team tandem of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson whom I cheer for each and every race week. This past Saturday however has been a most dark time for the really the entire sport as a life was lost. It occurred at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York which is just a bit north of Watkins Glen where this past Sunday’s NASCAR Spring Cup Race was held on the eve of the Cup event. Veteran and championship driver Tony Stewart whom regularly returns to his racing roots in dirt track racing entered the event as his passion for the sport regularly sees him entering numerous race events out of the NASCAR circuit on weekends or days off so it wasn’t like anything out of the ordinary knowing that he’d be racing there that night and with Watkins Glen so nearby it really was expected.
During the race Tony Stewart and 20 year old Kevin Ward Jr. got to racing closely and side by side heading into the turns with Stewart’s car making contact with Kevin Ward Jr.’s thereby sending his car spinning and into the outer barrier of the track…the caution waved instantly which tells the field of drivers that a imminent danger is now on track and therefore all cars are ordered to slow to yellow flag speed (in this case I believe it was somewhere around 30-35 mph) as the field of cars are frozen in position so no advancement may be made under the yellow. Kevin Ward Jr. shortly thereafter exited his sprint car in obvious displeasure with Stewart whom had spun him out with the earlier lap’s contact and he proceeded to walk downward into the track and away from his car and outer wall pointing his finger in the direction of Stewart’s them oncoming car and Stewart was then immediately behind another car which in the video appears to swerve away from Kevin Ward Jr. just before Stewart’s car hits him. You can clearly see the front car swerve and then you hear an acceleration of an engine which seems to be coming from Stewart’s car as his car appears to swing out its back side where the contact was made with Kevin Ward Jr. Kevin Ward Jr. appears to be run over by Stewarts rear right tire until he is thrust out after the contact as he lay on the ground afterward when Stewarts’ vehicle passes. Drivers confronting other drivers after a wreck where one blames the other is nothing new in the sport as tempers have often tangled in the past occurring both on pit road as well as on the race track itself and yet this is nothing like anything in memory.
My heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to the Kevin Ward Jr. family and friends who’ve lost their loved one and he was just 20.
This is as far as I know unprecedented as I’ve just never heard of such a tragedy in such a manner, you pray for your loved ones inside the race cars and hope that their equipment will keep them safe and yet you just never imagine that such a tragedy can occur outside of the racecar as inside so much technology is there to keep them safe and it’s just unimaginable that anything like this could ever occur.
I’ve watched the video over and over trying to find answers. And yet it’s difficult to make any definitive sense of it. For one the angle is opposite the contact. We don’t know why Stewarts’ car swerves the way it does as we clearly hear an acceleration of the engine. Was he trying to avoid him at the last moment? Spring cars are nothing like NASCAR stock cars as they have a much higher build and a much different center of gravity about them. They tend to slide with acceleration by nature and if you’ve watched sprint car races you’ll see that drivers even turn their front wheels the opposite way in which they’re turning as their cars naturally slide in this manner. And while the track isn’t well lit you can also consider that Kevin Ward Jr. is wearing a dark colored fire suit and helmet which could impede visibility possibly. The car just in front of Stewart clearly swerves at the last second before Stewart’s car hits Kevin Ward Jr. but no matter how many times you view the video it simply cannot answer what was in Tony’s head and intentions at that exact moment. Was he swerving to miss him? Did the impact of his rear tire cause his vehicle to swerve to begin with? Was Tony trying to show the younger driver up in turning that way? Was there a moment of careless anger on Tony’s part? Did Tony truly not see him and was this a tragedy and an awful tragedy and that alone? You’ve probably heard that Stewart has a history of being hot tempered, however at the same time I’d warn that to come too quickly to such a conclusion here just doesn’t do anyone justice, nor the tragic life cut short or the other whom will live with this forever.
Kevin Ward Jr.,
you are in my prayers.
Rest in peace.