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Tony Stewart, Family of Kevin Ward Jr. Agree to Settle Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Tony Stewart and the family of Kevin Ward Jr. have reached a settlement in court after the wrongful death lawsuit filed against the three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion in 2015.

According to ESPN, a settlement hearing has been set for April 12 in Utica, N.Y., by U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd, just a month before a trial was set to begin that would have led a jury to decide whether Stewart was at fault in the Aug. 9, 2014, death of Ward at Canandaigua Motorsports Park after Stewart’s car impacted with Ward on the track.

Neither Stewart nor the Wards have made a public statement about the settlement as of the morning of April 3.

Ward had walked into Stewart’s path to express his displeasure with the Cup champion in the Empire Super Sprints race. Ward’s parents alleged that Stewart was attempting to intimidate their son by swerving toward him while he confronted him, thus setting off the contact that eventually ended Ward’s life. Ward had marijuana in his system at the time of the accident.

A grand jury had earlier failed to indict Stewart with criminally negligible homicide and second-degree manslaughter.

The damages sought by the Ward family in the lawsuit had not been revealed.

About the author

Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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Can someone please explain the purpose of a waiver that is required to be signed in order to race? I don’t understand how you can sue after that release form is signed.


The waiver likely pertains to the track and its operators rather than the other competitors. In any case, waivers are meaningless in the case of gross negligence or intentional harm. You can sign a waiver before surgery, but still sue your doctor if he royally screws it up.

Bill B

I wonder if we’ll ever know how much that settlement was, yet alone the truth about what really happened that night. Only Tony knows for sure.


Exactly right, Stewart is the only one that knows and I suppose the book is closed.


SmarterThanYo; while I agree with you on your statement, I would have to believe that there is a clause stating that this is a dangerous sport and you risk injury or even death. If there is no protection for the drivers then if two cars race hard and tangle and someone dies does that mean that the family can sue the other driver? I understand that’s a totally different situation; however if the drivers are pissed at each other and wreck each other is that considered vehicular manslaughter?
I hope Frontstretch can do an in depth article on what is covered in these waivers.
I actually have friends racing a midget car this weekend at Linda’s Speedway in Pennsylvania this weekend. I am going to ask if I can read a copy of what is signed to be able to race.

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