LEBANON, Ind. (WISH) — Days after the tragic sprint car crash that took the life of Kevin Ward Junior, experts are still investigating just what went wrong.
24-Hour News 8 spoke to 3K Racing owner, Don Kenyon, who has worked with race cars for the past 50 years. Tony Stewart once drove his cars, and the two have stayed in touch over the years.
“We’ve known him ever since he started. He was a little squirt,” said Kenyon.
Kenyon has watched the video of Saturday night’s wreck and has tried to piece together just what went wrong.
“It affects all..everybody in our sport. Everybody when something like that happens,” said Kenyon.
Kenyon said a combination of factors made being out on the track on foot, especially dangerous.
“His car was black, his driving suit was black, his helmet was black, it was a poorly lit facility,” said Kenyon.
24-Hour News 8 got inside a midget, which is a smaller version of the Sprint car Stewart was driving. The right side of the car was especially hard to see out of because it is bigger with more equipment, geared to help the car make left turns.
Even the midget has a very limited view, and it doesn’t have the wings that hang in front of the driver in Sprint cars.
“Between the bottom of the wing and top of wing you’re limited your area of space you’re seeing at maybe 18 inches.You’ve got a big wing up in front, a big wing up on top you’ve got a steel mesh in front of your eyes…when you look at the whole thing, your vision is limited,” said Kenyon.
That’s why some people say it’s possible Stewart may not have seen Ward coming.
“Your vision is limited and when somebody jumps out and you have just a split second there to do whatever…you either try to miss him or you can’t,” said Kenyon.
Kenyon believes this tragedy needs to serve as a lesson, and a call to action. He wants to see more sanctions on drivers who get out of their car during a race, but not all officials think that’s going to happen.
“I don’t think there are rules that are specifically going to be developed. It would be for USAC. I think it’s going to be a reminder for USAC that these are things you don’t do,” said United States Auto Club president Kevin Miller.
“The safest place on the race track when you have an accident is in the race car,” said Miller.