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Email a Friend Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it. Next Prev Random

Race To The Death  
2014 Darwin Award Winner
Confirmed True by Darwin

(9 August 2014, New York) For most people the danger of a high speed road is common-sense obvious, and few people will attempt to cross a major highway such as an interstate regardless of what is on the other side. On racetracks the danger is even more obvious: when cars inside a compact oval are moving faster than freeway speeds, common sense shouts in your ear, "Do not walk!"

...And then there is Kevin Ward.

Kevin Ward is a Sprint Car racing driver. Sprint Car racing is one of the most popular forms of racing in the United States. The cars have a very high power-to-weight ratio making speeds in excess of 140 miles per hour possible on some tracks. A Sprint Car race typically takes place on a dirt track in a machine designed to drift around corners, and the traction of the racetrack surface is much less than the traction of an asphalt surface.

Sprint Car drivers are shielded in specially-designed race vehicles that are meant to take a beating so that the occupant can survive. A driver is protected by roll cages, fuel tank bladders to prevent fuel leakage, a six or seven-point safety harness, as well as a mandatory driver suit, full coverage helmet, and Nomex gloves. The importance of staying inside the vehicle until track personnel arrive to protect the crash site is essential knowledge drummed into every race car driver.

...And then there is Kevin Ward.

You don't have to be Captain Obvious to notice that race cars move rapidly, and collisions and spin-outs happen frequently. In Sprint Car races the vehicles drift through corners, meaning those vehicles are moving at the very limit of their traction. It was in this environment that Kevin's vehicle was bumped by another driver, causing it to spin around and knock into the wall. With the damage taken, Kevin's vehicle was out of the race. For most people being knocked out of the race is a time of reflection, and a time of considering what to say at the end of the race when you discuss the collision with the driver who knocked you out.

...And then there is Kevin Ward.

In a rage that defied common sense, he decided to confront the driver who bumped him right there, right then, in the middle of an active track. Not only did he exit his vehicle without consideration for the slippery dirt track, not only did he put out of his mind corner drifting, but also he failed to consider the black color of his uniform and helmet and their near-invisibility on a dimly lit racetrack at night. These are all factors that would instill the fear of death in many drivers after an accident.

...But then there is Kevin Ward.

Even during a yellow flag the race cars move quickly, and Sprint Cars cannot turn or stop on a dime as the track is made of dirt. After climbing out of his vehicle and walking onto the middle of the track, Kevin spotted his target and made many gestures as the driver was coming around the bend. However the offending driver did not see the figure in the dark jumpsuit. His car was behind another race car in single file during the caution lap. The car in front of him dodged Kevin in the nick of time. The next car, the car that knocked Kevin out of the race, attempted to dodge the shadowy figure but it was at that point that Kevin's luck ran out.

In an attempt to swerve, the car slid sideways and the back of the vehicle impacted against Kevin and knocked him flat. He was down and out, a tragic end to the last race of Kevin's life.

Moral of the story? Stay off a busy road. Especially a dirt racetrack. And most especially when you're a Sprint Car professional who knows better.

Kevin A. Ward Jr. - b. 23 May 23 1994, d. 9 August 2014

He was e-raced.

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