The insurance company that covers Tony Stewart Racing has filed court documents saying Stewart's policy does not cover the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Kevin Ward Jr.
Axis Insurance Company filed a complaint for declaratory judgment Friday, asking the court to rule that it is not responsible to cover Stewart, saying its policy covers neither the race Stewart was participating in nor claims brought by one driver against another.
Stewart's attorney had no comment to the filing.
Stewart was competing in an Empire Super Sprints event Aug. 9, 2014, at Canandaigua (New York) Motorsports Park when his car struck and killed the 20-year-old Ward, who had gotten out of his car and walked out on the track while the race was under caution.
Ward's parents contend in their lawsuit that Stewart could have avoided their son just as the other drivers in the race did, and they seek unspecified damages for their son's pain and suffering as well as the potential economic support he could have provided for them. Stewart, who was not criminally charged, says Ward was responsible for his own death, had attempted to make contact with Stewart's car before being struck and had used marijuana within five hours of the race.
Stewart was racing for TSR, a team that he owns and competes with in sprint car races, which is separate from the NASCAR stock car team he co-owns (Stewart-Haas Racing) with Gene Haas.
Axis Insurance, in its filing in a U.S. District Court in New York, states that the $4 million of coverage (a combination of three policies) for Tony Stewart Racing is specifically for 65 World of Outlaws events, 30 USAC Sprint events and 10 USAC Silver Crown events. No Empire Super Sprints events are part of the team policy, Axis says.
The policy also has an exclusion clause that states "this insurance does not apply to claims or actions brought by one racing vehicle driver against another racing vehicle driver" and that "coverage is specifically excluded for the racing vehicle driver who is the object of such claim or action."
Stewart has not yet filed a response to the Axis request. He has asked for the wrongful death lawsuit be dismissed based on waivers Ward and his father, as the car owner, signed prior to the event that indemnify other participants.