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Tony Stewart Says There Are ‘No Words’ To Describe Sadness At Death Of Young Driver

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Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. ( Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. ( Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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(CBS/AP) – Tony Stewart says “there aren’t words” to describe his sadness over the collision that killed Kevin Ward Jr.

In a statement released by spokesman Mike Arning, Stewart says “my thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

The three-time NASCAR champion struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. with his car on Saturday night as Ward walked toward it following contact between the two during their race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

The full text of the statement read: “There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Stewart’s team had said earlier Sunday that Stewart would be behind the wheel of his No. 14 Chevrolet when the green flag waved. Regan Smith drove Stewart’s car instead.

Stewart has raced more than a dozen times in Sonoma, winning the The Dodge/Save Mart 350 in 2001 and 2005 and finishing second in three other events. He was accused of intentionally causing a wreck in 2011 and  2004 he was fined after an altercation with drivers Tony Vickers after the race.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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