IndyCar driver Conor Daly posted a poignant tribute to Chris Beaty, a former Indiana University football player and Indianapolis business owner who was killed Saturday amid protests and rioting in the city.
Daly said he got to know Beaty, who owned an event and marketing promotions company, five years ago when he was organizing Indianapolis 500 afterparties.
Daly annually had been involved in Beaty’s parties since then and said Beaty helped get him home earlier this year when Daly’s blood sugar crashed while at an event.
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“The world lost a tremendous person. RIP Chris Beaty,” wrote Daly, who also tweeted “The violence has to stop.”
Daly was asked about the tweet Wednesday by NBCSports.com during an IndyCar Zoom.
“Obviously Chris was a pretty close friend of mine,” Daly said Wednesday. “Obviously what’s going on now is just tough to see no matter who you are. I just wanted to say something because just how good of a person he was. I didn’t want to dive into anything and create any big story about it or anything. I just felt like he deserved some words.
“Obviously he was out there trying to help protect some people who were getting robbed. It’s incredible to see that level of a person that he was. He definitely deserved the respect that people certainly in Indianapolis are giving him. It’s a tough situation all across the country. But, yeah, he was a great guy and he’ll definitely be riding with us this weekend. He was a big IndyCar fan, as well. That’s pretty cool.”
We lost an incredible person in Indianapolis over the weekend during the chaos and rioting. The violence has to stop… I wanted to share a couple stories about Chris as he was truly one of the nicest people you could meet. We will miss you @BeatyzWorld pic.twitter.com/YgwYmxvFQj
— Conor Daly (@ConorDaly22) June 1, 2020
Daly said it’s important for drivers to speak their minds but also sometimes tricky on how to weigh in on big-picture topics outside racing.
“There’s a lot of business aspects to this sport, for sure, that we have to be aware of,” said Daly, who will be driving the No. 59 Chevrolet for Carlin in Saturday’s season opener at Texas Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBC). “There are companies that support us, support our team, stuff like that. But realistically you got to say what comes from the heart as well.
“I think it’s been great to see a lot of drivers saying what they have. I think it’s a pretty unified message between all the stuff that we’ve seen put on the Internet, for sure. It’s good to see us as a community doing what we are doing. Hopefully we can continue to get some positivity going with our race this weekend as well.”
Daly’s helmet in Saturday night’s race will feature a #LiveLikeChris tribute to Beaty, an Indianapolis native who was an offensive lineman at Indiana from 2000-04.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Beaty died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds during Saturday night’s unrest in downtown Indianapolis. Memorials, including a street mural honoring Beaty, have been happening around the city.
— annemariewthr (@AnneMarieWTHR) June 3, 2020
Graham Rahal also posted Monday on Twitter about his interaction with Beaty.
Definitely a major bummer. Chris was always all smiles, loved giving him crap about my Buckeyes beating up on his boys, always in good fun. Chris surely will be missed in our community. @BeatyzWorld https://t.co/1BtZVwGuIg
— Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal) June 1, 2020
Daly, Rahal and the rest of the IndyCar Series will return to action Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBC).