Race Safety: Tragedy in Canandaigua

By AMY YOUNG | ayoung@wroctv.com

Published 08/10 2014 11:35PM

Updated 08/10 2014 11:50PM

The Canandaigua Motorsports Park is solemn this afternoon.  Folks who witnessed the crash involving NASCAR champion Tony Stewart feel like they're still in a nightmare.

"It was uh, ya know, surreal," said Elton Smith, eyewitness

Elton Smith of  Rochester watched the tragedy  that killed Kevin Ward unfold before his eyes.

"The strange part was, you could see the driver, running down the track.  And then after Tony went by, he wasn't there," added Smith

Smith described a hush over the track when people realized Ward was no longer on the track.  A makeshift memorial now sits trackside.

Racing enthusiasts say it's an unwritten rule among drivers you should never leave your car, no matter the situation.

"I hear you're not supposed to ever do.  So, I'm wondering why he chose to exit his vehicle.  Hmm.  I thought that was kind of the first rule of racing," said Kathryn Casella, Canandaigua

But, it  did happen.  Ward exited the car.

"Imagine yourself in a car accident on the Northway.  The first thing you're going to do is make sure you're okay.  Then your adrenaline starts pumping.  And the first thing you're going to do is confront that driver that just caused, ya know,  physical damage to your own property.  Umm.  I wish it didn't happen."

Ward's family is mourning a loss  But it is not alone  Expressions of sympathy are all over social media including Twitter and Facebook

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