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Stewart withdraws from dirt race at Plymouth Speedway

Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - After not competing in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International, Tony Stewart has decided not to participate in an upcoming winged sprint car event in Plymouth, Indiana.

Stewart struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race on Saturday night at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park, a dirt track located about 50 miles northeast of Watkins Glen.

Stewart was scheduled to compete in the Aug. 16 Bob Newton Classic at Plymouth Speedway, a 0.375-mile banked dirt track, but on Monday, track officials released a statement, noting that Stewart would not race in the event.

Officials said in their statement, "We at Plymouth Speedway extend our deepest condolences and prayers to the family of Kevin Ward, Jr. and thoughts and prayers to Tony Stewart and his family. Tony Stewart will NOT be racing at Plymouth Speedway this Saturday. More information on the weekend's racing will be announced this week."

There is no word yet from Stewart-Haas Racing if Stewart will compete in next Sunday's 400-mile Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. Regan Smith substituted for Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet at Watkins Glen. Smith finished 37th after he was involved in a late-race accident with Jimmie Johnson.

Meanwhile, the Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Department on Monday continued its investigation into the fatal accident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, determining if Stewart might have acted irresponsibly when he hit Ward.

The incident occurred just past the halfway point in the scheduled 25-lap Empire Super Sprints (ESS) event. Stewart and Ward made contact while battling for position, with Ward spinning out and hitting the wall. The race went under caution.

A video of the incident showed Ward climbing out of his car and then walking down the dirt rack during the caution. He was pointing his finger in the direction of Stewart and apparently yelling at him to express his displeasure.

Stewart's car and the vehicle of another competitor traveling in tandem approached Ward. The first car swerved to avoid hitting him, but the right rear of Stewart's vehicle struck Ward and dragged him briefly across the track.

Emergency personnel immediately attended to Ward. He was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The remainder of the race was canceled.

08/11 17:50:22 ET

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