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Mike's Minute

By Mike Aldridge

Personal responsibility and the need for it was never more apparent than a few weeks ago in Canandaigua, New York, when NASCAR star driver Tony Stewart hit and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race on a dirt track.  
What led up to the accident and the accident itself has been widely talked about. There has been wild speculation sometimes out weighing the facts from the tragic accident.  
What is almost certain is that Stewart’s car hit the back of Ward’s sending it into the barrier knocking the youthful driver out of the race.
Most eye witness and filmed accounts point to this as a fact.  
What happened next is also a fact as Ward got out of his car and walked out onto the track, apparently to confront Stewart as he drove around the track again.  
Whatever his reason, and only Ward knows for sure what that was, he stood on a dark track in black clothing to make some gesture or yell something in Stewart’s direction.  
After one driver narrowly missed Ward, Stewart could not avoid striking him and killed the young driver right there on the track.
This is where the controversy begins with some calling for Stewart’s arrest on a charge of manslaughter and even some wanting him to be charged with murder saying Stewart’s temper caused him to hit Ward intentionally.  
Some have said that the veteran star drove close to Ward to throw dirt on him only to have the car slide into him and kill him.  
Stewart denies this. Most racing fans believe him including me.  
While Stewart’s temper is legendary, I would not ever believe that he would intentionally drive close enough to a pedestrian to endanger their well being.
It is very difficult to do, but sometimes the person who lost the most, in this case his life, was the person to blame.  
The habit that drivers have gotten into of getting out of their cars and making gestures or throwing helmets at opposing drivers’ cars while they are still going 200 mph is not very smart.  
NASCAR, just last week, made a rule against drivers leaving the car for such shenanigans.  
If Kevin Ward Jr.’s temper got away from him and he lost his life because of it, that is really too bad. But blaming Tony Stewart is not going to bring him back or alter the circumstances.