Sprint car racer Kevin Ward, Jr. Remembered at Funeral - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Sprint car racer Kevin Ward, Jr. Remembered at Funeral

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The word "somber" continued to be the theme for the racing community as 20-year-old Kevin Ward, Jr. was remembered at his funeral in Turin, NY.

The auditorium of South Lewis High School, where Ward graduated from just a few years ago, was filled with mourners, many of them dressed in orange and black, the colors associated with Ward's No. 13.

His casket was positioned at the front of the stage, with more than 50 floral arrangements, including a big #13, adorning the area.

The service began with a recitation of his obituary, which included a lengthy account of his many racing accolades. Soon after, the Dixie Chick's "Godspeed" was played at the request of Ward's mother.

Family members remembered a man who had a smile that "could brighten up any room," and a sense of humor to match.

His longtime best friend Dylan Swiernik, who choked back tears during his eulogy, said the two were brothers because they both grew up with multiple sisters.

"We're just two small town boys trying to make it in the big world," Swiernik said. "Both hoping to make it to the World of Outlaws."

His sisters, in unison, called him "spoiled rotten," and read a quote from Morrie Schwartz. Sister Kayla Herring added, "We love you and you will never be forgotten."

Then, the floor was opened up to anyone wanting to share a story about Ward, Jr.

Dean Reynolds of Empire Super Sprints said that Ward gave him "five great years of watching him." He also announced the Series' asphalt race would now be named in honor of the late racer.

After a few more songs were played, including Kari Jobe's "Steady My Heart," the service was over and mourners made their way outside to show support as the casket was loaded into the hearse.

Orange, black and white balloons were distributed and as the hearse doors closed, the crowd counted to 13 and released them.

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