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Funeral set for driver hit by Tony Stewart's car



TURIN, N.Y. (AP) - Kevin Ward Jr.'s father and fellow racers want him remembered as a talented and aggressive driver who had a bright future in the sport rather than as a victim in an accident involving NASCSAR champion Tony Stewart that sparked controversy among racing fans and recriminations from Ward's family.

Funeral services for the 20-year-old were set for 11 a.m. Thursday at South Lewis Senior High School in Turin, 55 miles northeast of Syracuse. Ward, a 2012 graduate of the school, lived in nearby Port Leyden.

Ward was killed Saturday night 140 miles away at a dirt track in Canandaigua, where NASCAR champion Stewart was racing while he was in the area for a Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen the next day. After a bump from Stewart sent Ward's winged car spinning into the wall, the young driver climbed out and stalked 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 fans watched in horror.

The accident touched off angry 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 took his life into his hands by stepping onto a dark track clad in black.

Kevin Ward Sr., who was at the track with his wife Pamela when their son was killed, told The Syracuse Post-Standard this week that Stewart was the best driver on the track that night, and there was no reason for him to hit the young driver after other cars avoided him.

"The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison," Ward said. "Is he going to say what he done?"

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

Ward, who grew up in a racing family and started racing go-carts at age 4, had 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 who traveled to various races around New York state, parts of Canada and Pennsylvania.

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.

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

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white96regal August 14 2014 at 7:24 AM

Didn't his parents ever tell him not to play in traffic? perfect example. It's not Tony's fault for this kid's stupidity.

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3 replies
chasesea August 14 2014 at 10:50 AM

It was that brat's fault he died. Of course, the parents will say "not my kid" like they all do. No different from my getting out of my car on a highway with people in every lane driving at least 50, and me walking in between them pointing my finger...like a moron.

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1 reply
VIRGILPOWELL chasesea August 14 2014 at 2:32 PM

another nascar dumbass

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paulie August 14 2014 at 7:55 AM

>>> ONE IDIOT COMMENT AFTER ANOTHER,...<<<<
THIS KIDS FATHER EVEN SELF INCRIMINATED HIM,... " HE WAS AN AGGRESSIVE DRIVER< HIS SON "
THIS IDIOT 20 YEAR OLD SEALED HIS OWN FATE WHEN HE RAN OUT INTO ON COMING TRAFFIC,.... LETS MOVE ON,... SAD,..? YES,... PARENTS LOST A SON, ? YES BUT THIS IS GOT TO BE THE MOST INSANE SUICIDE BY CAR STORY I HAVE EVER HEARD,..
I COME FROM A RACE CAR FAMILY FROM YEARS AGO,... EVERY ONE KNOWS THAT I KNOW, THAT YOU DON'T RUN INTO ON COMING TRAFFIC TO CONFRONT 2,500 LBS OF STEEL,.. TOTALY STUPID AND ASSININE,... END OF STORY,... FROM THE STORIES I HAVE HEARD AND THIS KIDS COCKINESS HE WAS JUST GOING TO BE ANOTHER IDIOT RACER WITH ATTITUDE ,.. PLEASE,...! LIKE WE NEED MORE OF THAT,....HAVE A GREAT DAY,..!

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5 replies
usapaydirt August 14 2014 at 7:24 AM

So the media asks the grieving father what his take is, on what happened. Of course, his answer would place all the blame on the other driver. Of course, he's unable to comprehend that his son made a fatal mistake, by running in front of fast moving race cars. His son is not even buried yet, and the dad is asked his opinion of who's fault it was. What did you think he'd say......

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3 replies
tequillasun41 August 14 2014 at 10:54 AM

In his grief this man is being stupid (which on one hand I can understand). He was there but is refusing to accept the fact that his son walked onto a track full of moving vehicles and put himself in the utmost peril of his own doing. What he is saying about other cars missing Kevin however is wishful thinking and an attempt to put blame where it does not lay (on Tony Stewart). The first three cars thaqt passed him did so before he stepped onto the track. The first to pass him once he did barely missed him and most probably was blocking Tony's view of him as it did. By the time Tony saw him there was little that could be done to change what happened. Even a friend of his who was behind Tony says he feels Tony did what he could to avoid Ward, but these cars (Sprint types) are hard to control and even when you think you are in charge of what they do, you often are not ! Get over it Mr. Ward, admit the truth, deal with it and try to move on !

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tanytol August 14 2014 at 9:55 AM

It is pathetic that people are calling this dead young man names like idiot, etc. No matter what happened, he had a family, who loved him dearly and who is still grieving. People have no sympathy at all today in this cruel, opinionated world!

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1 reply
rkristafr tanytol August 14 2014 at 11:40 AM

for every person who says "idiot' there is one who blames Tony. etc so get over it Haters Hate! Stupid idiots die young!

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jurmik August 14 2014 at 7:25 AM

...Steward known for his hot temper....says it all, normally he would be on his way to a jail, but him no, a Great American Racing Hero, never.

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6 replies
jd532 August 14 2014 at 8:15 AM

the kid was stupid, and Stewart is garbage...there are no coincidences...why was it not another car that killed this kid...I know that the macho gear-heads will say that Stewart can do no wrong, but this is a bad person!!!..This creep has a history, but I guess that's ok...!!

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2 replies
tequillasun41 jd532 August 14 2014 at 11:04 AM

Eat sh** you F'ing moron !!!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
flysalot2 jd532 August 14 2014 at 12:36 PM

Lordy jd532, all those hits to your head by golf balls are showing.

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flysalot2 August 14 2014 at 12:27 PM

The article mentions Tony Stewart's hot temper. Kevin Ward looked like he had one to match Stewart's when he got out of his car and pointed down Steward in the middle of the track. Looks like two hot tempers collided in the middle of the tract that evening. One lost.

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1 reply
dandydon255 flysalot2 August 14 2014 at 3:32 PM

Was the collision a REAL accident or Stewart being Stewart ?

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smrg12 August 14 2014 at 2:15 PM

I keep reading the comments from people in and out of the media who probably have never sat in a race car, more less drove one. Their comments mean nothing, really. Then there is the young man's father who has been around these cars. If the tables were turned, and his son had hit and killed another driver, would he be yelling all this stuff about sending his son to prison? I think not. The bottom line here is that there was a terrible accident on the track and a promising young driver lost his life. He evidently thought, at 20 years old, he was going to show up Stewart. In his black suit, black helmet, on a black racing surface, at a poorly lit race facility. As sad as this whole thing is, the kid made a very stupid mistake. It was an ACCIDENT! Stewart is not to blame. The track is not to blame. Some brilliant people have said the track IS to blame because of the poor lighting. Sorry, that doesn't fly, either. when you pay your pit fee/entry fee you are agreeing to race with the existi

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