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Tony Stewart's hometown reacts to his weekend crash

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Columbus, IN (CNN) - An investigation is underway into Sunday’s accident at a dirt-track race in upstate New York. NASCAR star Tony Stewart hit and killed another driver. That driver, Kevin Ward Jr, was walking on the track during the race.

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Residents of Columbus, Indiana, Stewart’s home town, reacted to the crash Sunday evening.

Matt Arrington – Race Car Driver: "I don't think he saw him until the last second."

That's what driver Matt Arrington feels Tony Stewart experienced in the moment leading up to the tragic impact that claimed 20 year old Kevin Ward Jr’s life.

Matt Arrington: "God rest his soul. We're all just heartbroken over the whole thing. We would be regardless of who was the other person involved."

But it was Stewart, the same driver Arrington looked up to growing up, and who proudly calls Columbus his home. As an 8 year old go-kart racer, Stewart got his first sponsorship from Bob Franke, owner of a local Dairy Queen. The family still keeps in close contact with Stewart, and news of last night's accident left them at a loss of words. The man adorned on their walls, now coming under fire after his latest trip around the track.

Matt Arrington: "It's such a tragedy and there's a lot of people out there that are trying to…hang him for it you know."

Arrington said it's possible that when Stewart revved his engine near ward, it was in order to change gears and feels Stewart tried to swerve away.

Matt Arrington: "There's so many things going on in those race cars that a lot of people don't realize.  Motor sports are dangerous but when you get out of that car, you’re putting yourself at a big risk."

Read More: NASCAR hits, kills fellow driver during race

Read More: Local speedways focus on safety

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