TURIN, N.Y. (AP) — Kevin Ward Jr.'s family and friends praised the dirt-track racer as a "small-town boy" who loved his sport during the funeral for the 20-year-old driver who was killed by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

Pallbearers help roll the casket of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. at South Lewis Senior High School in in Turin, NY (Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

More than 700 mourners jammed the South Lewis Senior High School the auditorium Thursday for the 90-minute service, a mix of tears and cheerful recollections of a young man who began racing at a young age.

Dylan Swiernick, Ward's best friend, said his car-obsessed buddy always wore a smile even on the roughest days.

Ward, a 2012 South Lewis graduate, is being buried in his nearby hometown of Port Leyden.

Ward was killed Saturday night at a track 140 miles away in Canandaigua, where Stewart was riding a day before the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen.

 

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