One week after the fatal sprint car crash that involved Tony Stewart and left Kevin Ward Jr. dead, Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park resumed racing on Saturday night.
Many in attendance Saturday at CMP wore orange, one of the primary colors of Ward’s No. 13 sprint car. Persistent showers cut the racing schedule short, but several tributes to Ward were still made.
According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s report, drivers and crew members bearing orange glow-sticks formed a horseshoe. Additionally, a No. 13 sign was unveiled near CMP’s Turn 2.
That gesture won the respect of Webster, New York resident Brandon Lewis, who told the D&C that while he didn’t know Ward personally, he wanted to go to CMP and pay his respects.
“Not a lot of promoters and owners get a hold of the (victim’s) family, talk to the staff about re-opening,” Lewis said to the paper. “The guy in charge talked to his own family (for guidance).
“That tells you that they respect the situation and not all about the money. That’s big for me.”
Last Saturday at CMP, Ward was struck by Stewart’s car after Ward walked down the racing surface to apparently confront the latter driver following an on-track incident. Ward was later pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.
The local community said goodbye to Ward on Thursday in a funeral service that took place at the same high school he graduated from just a couple of years ago.
As for the investigation into the crash, it remains ongoing as the Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff’s Department continues to gather all information regarding the tragedy.
Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, is not competing in today’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
For this race, Cup veteran and NBC Sports analyst Jeff Burton will drive Stewart’s No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.