Tuesday, August 25, 2015

IndyCar driver Justin Wilson passes away from head injury

IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died Monday night from a head injury suffered when a piece of debris struck him at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania over the weekend. He was 37. IndyCar officials announced his death in Indianapolis on Monday.

"This is a monumentally sad day for INDYCAR and the motorsports community as a whole.

"Justin's elite ability to drive a race car was matched by his unwavering kindness, character and humility -- which is what made him one of the most respected members of the paddock.

"As we know, the racing industry is one big family, and our efforts moving forward will be focused on rallying around Justin's family to ensure they get the support they need during this unbelievably difficult time," Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., said.

Hulman & Co. is the parent company of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers. The family would like to thank the staff at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital, Pocono Raceway, Andretti Autosport, and the Verizon IndyCar Series as well as the entire racing community for the amazing outpouring of support from fans around the world," Wilson's family said in a statement.

Wilson is survived by his wife, Julia, and two daughters.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Justin Wilson. He was a tremendous racer, a valuable member of the team and respected representative to our sport.

"While Justin was only part of the Andretti lineup for a short time, it only took a second for him to forever become part of the Andretti family. His life and racing career is a story of class and passion surpassed by none.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Wilson family and fans worldwide," Andretti Autosport said in a statement.

A native of Sheffield, England, Wilson recorded seven career Indy car victories  and eight pole starts in 174 races.

Wilson competed in Formula One in 2003 with Minardi and Jaguar, and his initial F1 points were scored that year in the U.S. Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

He co-drove a Michael Shank Racing sports car entry to the overall victory in the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2012.

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