NASCAR driver Tony Stewart was in Utica but not for what you may think. 

Stewart, the three time NASCAR champion appeared in federal court Friday, October 27th to ask a judge to drop a wrongful death claim in connection with the August 9, 2014 death of 20 year - old Kevin Ward Junior.

Ward Jr. was killed when Stewart's car struck him during the Empire Super Sprints race  at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Central Square.

Although Stewart was not charged, Ward's family filed a lawsuit against him, claiming Stewart was "negligent and reckless" in how he handled his Sprint car.

According to a story on New York Upstate, during Friday's court appearance in U.S. District Court, Judge David Hurd heard evidence whether or not releases and waivers signed by both parties, the Ward's and Stewart, could prevent the Ward family from suing.

A grand jury declined to indict Stewart, keeping him from facing criminal charges.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Hurd said he would issue a lengthy written decision within a few weeks.

BONUS VIDEO