CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The sprint car series in which Kevin Ward Jr. raced the night he was fatally struck by a car driven by Tony Stewart does not drug test its drivers.
Chuck Miller, race director and president for the Empire Super Sprints circuit, told The Associated Press on Friday the series rule book prohibits drug or alcohol use at the track. Miller also said drivers are prohibited from competing while under the influence.
But, he added there are “currently no testing requirements in the rules.” That rule can be changed only by a membership vote at the annual meeting, which will be held in January.
Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo said this week Ward was under the influence of marijuana the night of Aug. 9 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York.
“The levels determined were enough to impair judgment,” Tantillo said in announcing a grand jury decided Stewart would not be charged in Ward’s death.
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ESS said no officials or drivers reported any indication that Ward was impaired behind the wheel at Canandaigua Speedway the night of the crash or any other race this season.
Stewart, the three-time NASCAR champion, told The Associated Press in his first interview that Ward’s death was “100 percent an accident.”
“I know 100 percent in my heart and in my mind that I did not do anything wrong,” he said Thursday from his home in Huntersville, North Carolina.
The Ward family, in a statement issued after the grand jury ruling, said “the matter is not at rest,” and Stewart may still face a civil lawsuit.
“The focus should be on the actions of Mr. Stewart,” the family statement said.
Stewart, in his interview with AP, expressed sadness over Ward’s death but said he has been legally advised to not discuss his recollections of what happened on the track.
“It’s unfortunate that people are talking about this (the toxicology report) and not the loss of a young man who had three wins and a promising career ahead of him,” Stewart said.