A 42-year-old man fatally shot himself last night following an argument with other race fans at Texas Motor Speedway according to police and the Tarrant County (Tex.) medical examiner’s office.
According to the Associated Press, the medical examiner’s office said earlier today that the death of Saginaw, Texas resident Kirk Franklin — who was pronounced dead at 10:48 p.m. local time on Saturday night via a gunshot wound to the head — was a suicide. Fort Worth Police Department spokeswoman Tracey Knight told the AP that the incident that took Franklin’s life occurred during the late stages of the NRA 500 Sprint Cup race and that alcohol may have been a factor.
Anthony Andro of FoxSportsSouthwest.com has relayed word from the FWPD’s incident report that Franklin’s body was found in the back seat of a truck inside the track’s infield campgrounds. He also reports that track officials had no comment about the incident on Sunday.
Weapons and firearms are among the list of items that guests are banned from bringing inside Texas Motor Speedway.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.