Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Lynn Hardy cries Sunday Aug. 10, 2014, in front of the Westward Painting Co. Inc in Lyons Falls, N.Y., where race car driver Kevin Ward Jr. kept and worked on his car and worked with his father Kevin Sr. in the painting business. Hardy was married to Kevin Sr's brother and says she still considers Kevin Jr her nephew. Kevin Ward Jr was killed Saturday night in an accident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park when he left his car on the track after a crash and was hit by driver Tony Stewart while gesturing at him. (AP Photo/Democrat & Chronicle, Annette Lein) MAGS OUT; NO SALES
Praise at funeral for ‘small-town boy’ hit by Stewart’s car
First Published Aug 14 2014 09:29 am • Last Updated Aug 14 2014 10:49 pm

Turin, N.Y. • Kevin Ward Jr. was remembered as a "small-town boy" who loved his sport during Thursday’s funeral for the 20-year-old dirt-track racer whose car was hit by one driven by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

More than 700 mourners jammed the South Lewis Senior High School auditorium for the 90-minute service, a mix of tears and cheerful recollections of someone who began racing at a young age.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Even if he had rough day, he always had a smile," a tearful Dylan Swiernick said of his best friend and car-obsessed buddy. "We were just two small-town boys trying to make it in the big world. He was always working on something. It was unbelievable how smart he was. He never got down on himself when weren’t going his way."

Other friends and Ward’s three sisters also spoke during the service, which filled the auditorium to capacity, with some mourners standing along the edges of the venue. Ward, a 2012 South Lewis graduate, was buried in his nearby hometown of Port Leyden, 55 miles from Syracuse.

After the service, as Ward’s casket was taken to the hearse for the short trip to the cemetery, mourners let loose helium balloons in orange, white and black, his racing colors.

Ward died Saturday night at a track 140 miles away in Canandaigua, where Stewart was riding a day before the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen.

The accident touched off debates as video of the crash circulated online, with fans questioning whether Stewart, known for his hot temper, tried to send his own message by buzzing Ward, or whether Ward recklessly stepped onto a dark track clad in black.

Stewart was racing a day before the Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen. After a bump from Stewart sent Ward’s winged car spinning into the wall, the young driver climbed out and walked onto the track in his black firesuit, gesturing angrily. Stewart’s No. 14 car seemed to fishtail, and Ward was thrown through the air as his parents and fans watched in horror.

No charges have been filed, but Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies are still investigating.

Ward grew up in a racing family and started racing go-carts at age 4. He moved on to sprint cars and was Empire Super Sprint racing rookie of the year in 2012. He was one of a small, tight group of drivers that traveled to various races around New York state, parts of Canada and Pennsylvania.


story continues below
story continues below

Racing and working on cars in his father’s shop, Westward Painting Co. of Lyons Falls, were his "double love," Ward’s father told the Post-Standard of Syracuse this week.

"His goal was the race in the World of Outlaws," the top level for sprint cars, Ward said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.