From drivers, to crews to fans, Brewerton Speedway was covered in orange tonight in support of Kevin Ward Jr. and his family, whose team color was orange.
It was the first race for many on the track since the 20-year-old spring car driver lost his life in a tragic racing accident last Saturday.
"There's definitely a different feeling in the pits tonight," observed fellow sprint car driver Paul Kinney. "One of our friends and part of our racing family isn't here tonight."
Kinney has raced with Ward on the Empire Super Sprints Tour for the last four years. He was on the track in Canadaigua six days ago when Ward was struck and killed by Tony Stewart.
"When they threw the caution I was coming around the corner and I saw Kevin out of his car and he looked like he was looking for somebody. I didn't think much of it because that's not uncommon. We're drivers and sometimes our emotions get the better of us. I just thought that someone must had got into him," recalled Kinney. "Once they told us that our 4-wheelers were coming out to get us and we had to clear the track...that's when I started to get upset. I knew something had happened."
To honor Ward, Kinney's usual number 19 on the side of his sprint car was changed from black to orange. Numerous racers sported tributes to Ward on their cars as well.
"My numbers are orange tonight and I'll probably keep them that way the rest of the year," said Kinney. "Everybody has their orange on and you'll see a lot more of this throughout the year to pay tribute. We'll always have Kevin in our thoughts and on our minds."