On Tuesday’s NASCAR America, several of Justin Wilson’s colleagues and members of the racing community paid tribute to the 37-year-old Englishman, who died on Monday after sustaining a severe head injury Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
Leigh Diffey, NBC Sports Group lead F1 and IndyCar lap-by-lap announcer, remembers Wilson with a look back at the driver’s successes on the track and off as a highly respected competitor, advocate for dyslexia and family man.
Diffey expanded in a chat with Dave Briggs that he feels for Wilson’s wife, children and family, and also empathizes with his whole family of engineers, mechanics and owners that are grieving after the loss of such a genuine driver.
AJ Allmendinger was Wilson’s longtime teammate in Champ Car with the RuSPORT team. The two played off each other nicely with Allmendinger the diminutive Californian and Wilson the lanky Englishman. They were also part of the winning lineup with Ozz Negri and John Pew, driving with Michael Shank Racing, at the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Allmendinger, now a NASCAR driver, called Wilson a teammate, but more importantly he called him a friend and a driver that was the “best I’ve been around” and “one of the best people I’ve had the pleasure to meet.”
Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves remembers Wilson as “completely genuine” and talks about what it’s like to be a father first and driver second, as Wilson is survived by two daughters.
Serving alongside Wilson on the IndyCar council, Tony Kanaan remembers the 37-year old as “the nicest guy” and sees it as his responsibility to help keep Wilson’s legacy alive.
NBC IndyCar analyst Jon Beekhuis remembers Wilson and is still in disbelief of his passing because he thought Wilson would overcome, just as he had done in the face of life’s many other obstacles.