Racers and fans remember Kevin Ward Jr.

Updated: 08/16/2014 11:09 PM
Created: 08/16/2014 7:12 PM WHEC.com
By: Rachel Spotts

Saturday was a special night at Canadaigua Motorsports Park as drivers and fans paid tribute to Kevin Ward Junior...

Deputies say Ward was hit by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart after walking on to the track during a race after he spun out and hit the wall. He was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Fireworks and a special tribute were held at the track in honor of Ward. Fans say it was all about honoring the 20-year-old driver who was killed during the sprint car race.

“Tonight is about us moving forward together as a racing family and to be able to grieve together,” said Alyssa Andrus, a fan.

Fans and racers came out wearing orange, Ward’s racing color, as a special tribute to, what Darryl Ruggles says, is a racing family.

“Everybody kind of leans on everybody else for help, and this week it showed that the racing community is our lives,” said Ruggles, a racer.

Racers like Gary Tomkins hope to rise above in the often dangerous sport they love.

“There’s a lot at stake, and we realize that, but it’s a passion. This isn’t a hobby for me. It’s my passion, and it’s the way a lot of people are here,” said Tomkins.

The tribute also served as a lesson for drivers to always stay in their cars during a race.

“Everyone that was here that witnessed that crash will stay in their car,” said Kevin Ridley, racer.

“Kevin Ward Junior will never be forgotten. That will be a name that has a legacy at this track. That young man’s spirit will live on in the track,” said Wendy Emerson, Canadaigua Motorsports Park.

Drivers and fans say they’re praying for Ward’s family, and they’re also thinking of Tony Stewart during this difficult time.

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