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Kevin Harvick defends Tony Stewart, says he's 'a great person'

Kevin Harvick defends Tony Stewart, says he's 'a great person' Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick said he believes his friend Tony Stewart would never intentionally try to hit another driver.

Stewart struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., who had climbed out of his car and was trying to confront Stewart on the track, during a dirt-track race Saturday night. Harvick drives the No. 4 car for Stewart Haas Racing, which is co-owned by Stewart. Ward's funeral began at 11 a.m on Thursday morning at South Lewis Senior High School near the upstate New York town where the young driver lived. Meanwhile, Stewart made his decision about whether to drive in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan.

More: Friends, family mourn Ward at funeral service

More: Who was Kevin Ward Jr.?

"Tony Stewart is a great person," Harvick said. "I know in my heart he would never do anything like that on purpose. We just have to let it all play out. I do know that Tony is a great friend of mine, I've known him a long time, and he probably has the biggest heart of anybody in that garage."

Police have said there is currently no evidence to support criminal intent by Stewart, but charges have not been ruled out. An investigation into Ward Jr.'s death is ongoing.

More: Stewart faces several possible legal consequences

More: Stewart felt at home on local dirt tracks

On Tuesday, the victim's father, Kevin Ward Sr., spoke about the fatal accident, saying "apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn't see him."

- Molly Geary

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