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Aug 14, 2014 2:52 PM by Associated Press

Praise for 'small town boy' hit by Stewart's car

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.

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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