TURIN, N.Y. — Mourners gathered in western New York for the funeral of dirt-track racer Kevin Ward Jr., who was killed by driver Tony Stewart while walking on a track after contact between the two forced Ward’s vehicle into a wall.
Ward’s casket was decorated with his racing colors and orange and white flowers. Orange, white and black balloons were released into the air.
Services were held in the auditorium of South Lewis Senior High School, so that the large crowd could fit. Ward graduated from the school in 2012.
The 20-year-old was killed Saturday at a Canandaigua track where Stewart was riding a day before the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen.
Ward’s death greatly affected his small hometown of Port Leyden, a village of about 700 people. The village was filled with signs of support for the family.
The racing community was also Ward’s family. Paul Lyndaker owns Adirondack International Speedway.
“It’s a very unfortunate thing,” he said. “Whoever deemed this would happen because a lot of guys get out of their cars.
He said the accident will change how they look at safety on dirt tracks, but he can’t think of anything like it happening before.
Ward’s family said they appreciate the outpouring of support from the community, but they still needed time to mourn.