'My dad was so happy:' Family mourns driver who died following crash at Myrtle Beach Speedway

Jackie Ward's race car. (Source) Hunter Thomas
Jackie Ward's race car. (Source) Hunter Thomas
Adam and Valerie Causey. Jackie Ward's daughter and son-in-law. (Source: WMBF News)
Adam and Valerie Causey. Jackie Ward's daughter and son-in-law. (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A driver died following a crash on the track at Myrtle Beach Speedway Friday night, according to Horry County Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard.

Willard said a vehicle collided with the wall at the speedway around 4:45 p.m.

The driver, 56-year-old Jackie Ward of Surfside Beach, was transported to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, where he died shortly after 5:30 p.m., according to Willard.

An autopsy was performed Saturday, and Ward's death was ruled natural. According to Willard, his death was not due to the collision at the speedway.

"I don't think there was anyone who didn't like my dad and as hard as it's going to be, I hope everybody leaves a little happy knowing just how much of a good man he was and how much of a difference he's made in so many people's lives," said Valerie Causey, Ward's daughter. "He did so much throughout the community and a lot of times he wouldn't even tell anybody, and that's the kind of stuff we are hearing about. I mean, we knew a lot, but we are hearing about it now, saying Jackie did this for me or helped me with this, and it's from people we've never met. That's just how he was. He touched a lot of people and helped a lot of people."

A fond memory Causey has of her dad is when he and her mother renewed their wedding vows this year, after 33 years of marriage.

"My dad was so happy and so was my mom," she said. "They had a very, very special relationship, one that many people don't get to have, a good example for all of us. We are going to try to carry on his legacy and just always have him with us."

Mike Neff, with Myrtle Beach Speedway, said the raceway and Ward go way back.

"He would do anything to get anyone here at the track, so if you had someone here that had a problem, he'd be the first guy to jump in and help so they could go and compete against him," Neff said.

Neff was announcing the race Friday night when the crash happened.

"He glanced off the inside wall, got hit by another car who hit the wall, and at the time everybody rushes like we always do and make sure everyone is OK and the other driver got out of his car and Jackie didn't get out.," Neff said. "You knew something was wrong and it was one of those things we just held our breath."

There will be a viewing for Jackie Ward on Monday, Nov. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Goldfinch Funeral Home Beach Chapel, according to a Facebook from Strand Towing LLC, where Ward and his wife worked.

The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. at Goldfinch Funeral Home Beach Chapel.

The post continues:

My mother Theresa Whiting Ward, Adam Causey and myself know that my dad touched and loved many people and we want this to be a celebration of his life and the amazing man that he was. At the service if anyone would like to share a memory, a funny story or how my dad touched your life we would greatly appreciate it. We are so thankful for all of the continued outpouring of love and support during this heart breaking time.

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