Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. It’s not supposed to end this way. Justin Wilson (37; Sheffield, UK) was an extremely skilled racecar driver. He was also one of the most charming people you could ever hope to meet. Not that I ever actually did. The closest I came was a question or two at post-race press conferences. Or observing him, unseen, while he talked with his crew or competitors on pit row. But that was enough. Enough to feel like you knew him. Enough to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was one of the good ones.
I remember struggling at the start of this year’s IndyCar season to figure out how on earth he’d ended up without a ride. He’d shown he could drive with anyone on a road course – competing in Formula 1 and winning the 24 Hours of Daytona – and was almost instantly competitive again this year when Andretti Autosport hired him to finish out the season, following his drives for the team at Indianapolis.
Now I struggle to understand why; and to reconcile my love for this sport with its too often unthinkably high toll.
Godspeed, Justin. Godspeed.