TURIN, N.Y., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Hundreds of mourners gathered Thursday to shed grief and celebrate the life of deceased sprint car driver Kevin Ward.
Ward was killed Saturday night when he was struck by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart after exiting his vehicle mid-race at a sprint car dirt-track event at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York.
Family and friends packed the auditorium of South Lewis High School in Turn, N.Y., to remember the 20-year-old, pushing the auditorium 150 people over its 550-person intended capacity.
"Our family couldn't have been blessed by a happier person," said cousin Amanda Ward.
Ward's best friend, Dylan Swiernik, recalled being "small town boys" with Ward and their hopes for what the future held.
"We were just two small town boys trying to make it in a big world, praying we would make it to the World of Outlaws," he said.
Despite the somber tone, mourners wore orange and white to celebrate Ward's life and legacy.
"The reason for the orange and white is how bright the colors are. Kevin's colors," said older sister Kayla Herring. "And even against black, orange and white shine through."
Herring added that although the past five days have been "rough ... [the family] will get through together."
"If there wasn't a dirt track in heaven before there is now," she said.