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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Police have not ruled out charges for Tony Stewart after death of driver in sprint-car race

08.11.14 at 8:12 am ET

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MLB: Mets at Phillies, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Braves, 7 p.m. (ESPN)


— Authorities in Upstate New York said they do not have enough evidence to charge NASCAR driver Tony Stewart but have not ruled out criminal charges after he hit and killed a fellow driver during a sprint-car race in Canandaigua on Saturday night.

Stewart backed out of Sunday’s NASCAR race at Watkins Glen one day after the death of 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr.

“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,” Stewart said in a statement. “It’s a very emotional time for all involved. … My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Ward had stepped out of his car after his car was knocked into the wall by Stewart’s and attempted to confront the NASCAR veteran. Ward, wearing a black firesuit and black helmet on the dimly lit track, was hit by Stewart’s car, which was traveling an estimated 35-40 mph, and knocked backward onto the track.

MASHUP POLL: Should Tony Stewart faces charges for the death of fellow race-car driver Kevin Ward Jr.?

  • No, there is not enough evidence that he did anything wrong (64%, 217 Votes)
  • Yes, he was at the very least negligent for not slowing down and avoiding Ward (36%, 122 Votes)

Total Voters: 339

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There has been speculation that Stewart, known for his temper, was attempting to scare Ward and lost control of his car.

Tyler Graves, a sprint-car racer who was a friend of Ward’s, was watching the race from the Turn 1 grandstands.

“I know Tony could see him. I know how you can see out of these cars,” Graves told the Sporting News. “When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle. When you hit the throttle on a sprint car, the car sets sideways. It set sideways, the right rear tire hit Kevin, Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under it for a second or two and then it threw him about 50 yards.”

Stewart, 43, was questioned by authorities, who described him as “visibly shaken” but cooperative. Investigators worked to reconstruct the crash and asked for spectators to turn over photos and videos of the situation.

— NBA No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins not only is OK with his pending trade from the Cavaliers to the Timberwolves, he would prefer it — at least according to his former college coach.

Kansas’ Bill Self claims Wiggins said he would be better off in a situation where he is being relied upon to lead the way, rather than playing second fiddle to the likes of LeBron James.

“When all this stuff started, I talked to Andrew and he Andrew told me, ‘I hope I get traded,’ ” Self said. “And I’m like, ‘No you don’t.’ And he said, ‘Coach, I do. It’s better for me, knowing my personality and what I need to do, to go somewhere where I’m forced to be something as opposed to going in there where they’re going to be patient with me and I’m going to be a piece.’ ”

Wiggins reportedly will be traded along with 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett for Kevin Love, leaving the Cavaliers as they are being rebuilt into an Eastern Conference powerhouse.

Said Self: “Even though in a weird way everybody would love the opportunity to play with LeBron because you’re guaranteed winning, for the longevity of his career he needs to develop that mindset to be the guy, for him to be great, and I think being in Minnesota will help him do that.”

— Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph rejoined his team Sunday, two days after being shot in the leg at a nightclub in Mankato, Minnesota.

Joseph, who suffered a minor injury to the area around his calf, took part in team meetings but did not practice with the team. He is expected to remain out of action for another week or two but should be fully recovered before the regular season starts.

Joseph was out with a group of players at Friday night’s preseason game against the Raiders when a man started shooting. He was one of nine people injured.

“I’m sure it shook him up like it shook all of us up,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s a very high-character, high-quality young man.”

Said linebacker Jasper Brinkley: “Life is precious. ‘€¦ Glad to have him here, man.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 11, 1979, Jim Rice hit his 30th home run of the year, making him the third Red Sox player with three consecutive 30 home run seasons. Who were the first two?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “No one on our legal team or the college conferences’ legal teams think this is a violation of antitrust laws and we need to get that settled in the courts..” NCAA president Mark Emmert, on losing the case regarding ownership of athletes’ likenesses

STAT OF THE DAY: 3 — Weeks since the Red Sox last won a series, with the skid ending Sunday as they beat the Angels to take two out of three

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Jose Bautista hits a walkoff single to give the Blue Jays a 6-5 victory over the Tigers in 19 innings.

The Phillies walk off against the Mets in the ninth inning when Ryan Howard pulls a base hit just inside the foul line.

Anthony Rizzo lifts the Cubs over the Rays with a walkoff hit in the 12th inning.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw helps his own cause by diving to catch a popped-up suicide squeeze bunt and then doubling off the Brewers baserunner at third base.

Rays right fielder Jay Bruce robs a home run from Marlins batter Giancarlo Stanton.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Jimmie Foxx (who did it five years in a row) and Ted Williams (four)

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Eric Carmen was born on this day in 1949. Here he is singing lead for the Raspberries.

Read More: Andrew Wiggins, Bill Self, LeBron James, Linval Joseph