Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Indycar Loses Justin Wilson: Family Loses Father, Husband, Brother

Justin Wilson, 2014 Indianapolis 500
I had planned on writing about the great two days my brother and I had spent together at the Illinois State Fairgrounds dirt mile in Springfield, Illinois for the USAC Silver Crown and ARCA weekend, but unfortunately, life and the dark side of racing has intervened. I will get back to the story of our Springfield trip another time. After all the travel and sadness in our family since Mom's death July 5th, this weekend was one that my brother and I had planned since last year. We both really looked forward to spending time together at a racetrack and on the road. Then we heard about Justin Wilson.

The big man friends called "Badass"
As we were leaving Springfield Sunday afternoon, my brother got a text from his son in Tucson that Indycar driver Justin Wilson had been hit in the head by debris after a crash in the race at Pocono. We heard it looked bad. Sadly, barely 24 hours later, news reports confirmed the worst: that Justin had succumbed to his head injuries. As I drove away from Springfield, my brother pulled up the Indycar coverage from Pocono on his phone and we saw the video of the accident which led to Justin's death. It was truly a freak accident as Sage Karam had crashed on his own, and Justin had juked around a slowing car in front of him when a bouncing piece of debris from Karam's car hit him. I'm sure he never saw it coming. When we saw that Justin had been airlifted out of Pocono, we knew it was bad.

Justin Wilson 1978 -2015
Lots of tributes have been written since last night when Justin's death was confirmed and I can't add much to the outpouring of support that the racing community has provided but you know we are all feeling the grief. That's just what we have to do right now, and coming so closely on the heels of my Mom's passing, this feels especially painful, even though I can't say I really knew Justin as a person. But when you shoot racing as long as I have and you are up close and personal in enough situations where you hear them talk or overhear private conversations, you feel like you know them. For me, that knowledge is best captured in photos, so I will leave this blog post with a gallery of my photos in honor of Justin and all he meant to so many people.

Godspeed Justin, and God bless your family and friends. You will be sorely missed, but not forgotten.

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