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The Short, Fast Life of Kevin Ward, Jr.

20-year-old sprint car racer Kevin Ward, Jr. was killed Saturday night during a race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, when NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck him at top speed.

Hailing from Lyons Falls, New York, Ward first raced a go-kart at the age of four, and proceeded to rack up multiple racing victories through his teen years. By the time he was thirteen he was winning championships in Micro Sprint races, leading to his promotion to the 360 Sprint Car division, where he was named Rookie of the Year in 2012.

RELATED: Tony Stewart Pulls out of NASCAR Race After Fatal Accident

However, the past few years had been difficult for Ward. He saw a decline in wins, and as recently as two weeks ago was battling what news reports called “bad luck,” including weather and mechanical issues, that saw him place disappointingly low in qualifying races. The technical issues had been plaguing him all year long; even the articles featured on Ward’s own webpage sported headlines like “Kevin Ward Jr. Can’t Seem to Catch a Break.”

The incident Saturday night occurred after Ward’s car had crashed. Video shows him emerging from the vehicle and appearing to attempt to flag down Stewart’s car. Ward was dressed darkly for the night race, and it doesn’t appear Stewart ever saw him.

[Image via Facebook]

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