Created: 08/13/2014 3:54 PM WHEC.com
By: Producer Renee Keiser
For the first time, we are hearing from the father of Kevin Ward Junior. He’s the Sprint car driver who investigators say was hit and killed by Tony Stewart’s car during a race in Canandaigua Saturday night.
Kevin Ward Senior spoke with a reporter at the Syracuse Post-Standard sharing memories about his son.
From a young age, Kevin Ward Sr. says his son Kevin loved driving fast. He bought him a go-kart to race around a homemade track at their home. Ward Sr. says he showed him how to put gas in and pull the start cord. He goes on to say, “Kevin started driving at 8 a.m., barely stopped for lunch, and kept going until 8 p.m. He’d cry when bedtime came.”
Ward Sr. says his son ran go-kart races by his fifth birthday. He lost the first but went on to win the next 17. By eight years old, Kevin was giving him suggestions for improvements on the go-kart. Ward Sr. was at the track when Kevin, nicknamed “Budster”, raced Saturday night.
He says he didn't see the deadly crash but saw his son crash into the wall. After that, he jumped onto a four wheeler and tried to get on the track but track officials told him to stay put. Minutes later, Ward Sr. says someone told him to, “get out on the track and don't let anybody stop you."
Ward Sr. says Tony Stewart was by far the best driver on the track that night. He says he's angry about what happened saying, “Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn't see him."
Stewart says he didn't see ward before he hit him. Still, Ward Sr. doesn't want his son to be remembered for the crash that killed him. He says, “He was just a very God-gifted kid. I think he slept with a smile on his face."
In addition to his father, Kevin Ward Junior is survived by his mother and three sisters.
Ward Jr. will be laid to rest at 11 a.m. Thursday at Trainor Funeral Home on Schuyler Street in Boonville, N.Y.
If you would like to send a card or letter to Ward’s family, please mail it to:
3501 Kelpytown Road
Port Leyden, N.Y. 13433