Wednesday night, mourners grieved at a Port Leyden, New York, funeral home dressed in Kevin Ward Jr.’s orange-and-black colors. Race cars trekked to the scene to pay the respects of drivers. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who surely knows the pain Ward’s family feels, sent flowers.
Thursday, the Ward family held the funeral for the sprint-car driver at South Lewis Senior High School in Turin, New York. The family chose the venue, the very school that Kevin Ward Jr. graduated from just two years ago, because it could accommodate the outpouring of mourners that the local funeral home could not.
”If there wasn’t a dirt track in heaven before,” Kayla Herring, Ward’s older sister, said at Thursday’s service, “there is now.”
The healing process continues Saturday night, as Canandaigua Motorsports Park returns to racing in tribute to the twenty-year-old driver who died there last Saturday.
“I spoke to Kevin Ward Sr this morning,” Jeremie Corchoran, owner of the track, announced, “and he encouraged me to ‘get back to racing at CMP, Kevin would want you to.’ I consulted with all my staff also today as well as my family. Everyone has said that we need to begin to heal and that means we need to come together this Saturday night and put on a show in memory of Kevin Jr and support this great sport that we all love. We need to show our support of everyone that was involved and has been affected.”