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Stewart said Sunday “there aren’t words” to describe his sadness over Ward’s death.

Stewart hasn’t announced whether he’ll drive in this weekend’s NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway, but his short track “hobby” is on hold. He won’t appear Saturday in a race in Warsaw, Indiana.

“It is still an emotional time for all involved, Tony included. He is grieving, and grief doesn’t have a timetable,” spokesman Mike Arning said Monday.

Canandaigua Speedway promoter Jeremie Corcoran said the track has canceled Wednesday’s event to give “my family, staff, fans, and racing teams time to grieve and process all that has occurred.”

Driver Matt Tanner, a friend of Ward’s, was a few cars back from the collision. Ward had been a good friend for years, a member of a small, tight group of drivers who traveled to various races around New York state, parts of Canada and Pennsylvania.

“I saw his car sitting there and when the ambulances pulled up I realized what was happening,” Tanner said.

He hasn’t watched the video and doesn’t plan to.

“Your emotions are running so high. Stewart’s known for being competitive, and Kevin was just as competitive,” said Tanner.

So competitive that he’d take his life into his own hands by stepping into traffic in a black firesuit on a dark track?

No one will know for sure why Ward made the treacherous decision to stalk Stewart.

But perhaps he was inspired by Stewart himself. Known for his volcanic temper, Stewart is among the drivers who made highlight reels by tossing helmets at windshields or throwing punches at competitors. The action captivates fans and is part of NASCAR’s allure — and inspires the next generation to mimic the bumping and brawling of their heroes.

What better way for a young driver to make a name for himself than being the one that stood up to Smoke?

Driver Cory Sparks, a fellow driver in Saturday’s race, said he and Ward became friends five years ago. He said Ward was aggressive and competitive and that the two men had “had our feuds” but that he was proud to call him a friend.

“I don’t want Kevin Ward to be remembered as a victim in a Tony Stewart accident,” he said. “He definitely had a future in this sport. He was a very aggressive driver. He was one hell of wheel man.”

Doug Elkins is a former race announcer who now writes about the sport. He had known Ward and his father for several years. Elkins said he hoped rules prohibiting drivers from getting out of their cars during races will be better enforced around the country.

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