NBC’s Townsend Bell highlights Justin Wilson’s great character, reputation (VIDEO)

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IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died Monday at the age of 37 from the severe head injury he suffered Sunday after being hit by debris from a wreck at Pocono Raceway. NBC Sports IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell joined NASCAR America earlier in the day to discuss Wilson’s great character and outstanding reputation.

Besides having raced on track together in parts of the same season dating to 2008 (various crossovers meant Bell was in IndyCar while Wilson was in Champ Car from 2002 through 2007), the two were also briefly teammates in 2011, at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Bell filled in for two races for a then-injured Wilson, after Wilson’s back was hurt in an accident in practice at Mid-Ohio.

Bell explained what made Wilson such a beloved figure within the paddock.

“I think Justin is known as really the nicest guy in the IndyCar paddock,” Bell told NBCSN’s Dave Briggs. “Gracious and kind. A real gentle soul outside of the car and an absolute tiger inside the car. One of the most naturally gifted drivers, and somebody who has been largely underrated for most of his career… finally getting a first class opportunity, which he deserves, with Andretti Autosport.

“The incident couldn’t come at such a worse time for him, at a prime opportunity. The outpouring of support is a result of the person. But forget the racing driver, he’s somebody that anybody would step out to help in a time like this.”

Bell also expanded on his long-standing view IndyCar should eventually evolve to have closed cockpits, although he noted the implementation is something that will take time to perfect.

“It’s been discussed for a long time. We have been through… unfortunately incidents like this in the past,” Bell said. “Going back to Vegas in 2011 (with Dan Wheldon). Even prior to that, Ayrton Senna (in 1994 at Imola).

“I think the thing that drivers are always concerned about is head exposure. Because they’re not only open-wheel, but open cockpit cars. I’ve long advocated that’s my biggest concern, because the airplane industry stopped having open cockpit fighter planes in the 1920s or something. I think it’s time for us to evolve on the racing side.

“With the speed you go, with debris flying… you are at risk. But it’s easy to say that, knowing the implementation… it’s a very difficult thing and to test and develop the ideal solution.

“It’s been on everyone’s mind since 2011 in Las Vegas. We had an incident last year with James Hinchcliffe at the Indianapolis road course, where he took a projectile hit to the head and suffered a pretty severe concussion.

“It’s defnitely on everybody’s mind.”

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”