Fans and racers urged to wear orange at Friday's race.
The trademark color for 20-year-old sprint car racer Kevin Ward, Jr., was orange – his number 13 sprint car sported orange highlights, as did his safety equipment, trailer and his tee shirts.
To honor the young driver, who died after he was struck by NASCAR star Tony Stewart’s sprint car in a race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York last Saturday, the track hosting the Empire Super Sprints, Brewerton Speedway in New York, and the ESS itself are urging those who come to Friday’s “Wings and Warriors” race to wear orange.
It is the first race for the ESS since Ward died at one of their events.
Dean Reynolds, a Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints official, made the request. “Race fans of the Brewerton Speedway: We are asking for your help. As you know the Empire Super Sprint family lost one if their own this past weekend. In honor of Kevin Ward Jr. we ask you for a small favor. Each and every one wear Orange, shirts, pants, hats...anything you have. Let's make this the biggest Orange Out dirt track racing has ever seen.”
Ward’s funeral was today at South Lewis Senior High School in Turin, New York.
Ward was killed when he left his disabled car to confront Stewart, whose car was still under power for a caution flag, traveling at about 40 mph. Ward aparently violated no specific rule of the track or the ESS by leaving his car and walking onto the racing surface.
Brewerton Speedway, on August 11, issued the following change to its rules: "It is the goal of speedway management to maintain the safest possible racing conditions for all drivers. Only safety crews and wrecker crews are permitted on the track in the event of an accident. Pit crew members are not permitted on the track. Drivers are required to stay in their car in the event of an on-track incident. If a driver, for whatever reason, exits a car on the track during a caution period, the race will automatically be placed under a red flag and all cars will come to a complete stop. A driver may exit a car if requested by a safety crew member or if safety warrants in cases such as a fire. Drivers that exit a car without permission, for whatever reason, are subject to fine and/or suspension at the discretion of track management."