By: Kobe Lambeth
I want to take some time and remember three people the racing community lost in 2015.
The NASCAR community knows all about this story. Steven Patrick Byrnes left the Earth on April 21, 2015. Byrnes was a long-time anchor for NASCAR on FOX. He left behind his wife Karen and son Bryson. Steve Byrnes fought cancer until the very end. For those who do not know the Steve Byrnes story, please tell them how he was a major contribution to NASCAR. I will always remember his cheerful smile when he was “out in the field” doing his job. His legacy will live on forever! #ByrnesStrong
I remember this terrifying accident and have been trying to forget about it. However, I will never forget the amazing talent that Jules Bianchi displayed. In 2014, Bianchi was involved in a gruesome accident during the Japanese Grand Prix. Track officials were trying to remove the stranded Sauber of Adrian Sutil and Bianchi crashed into the recovery vehicle. Wet weather played a major role in his accident. Bianchi spent months in a medically induced coma and passed away on July 17, 2015. Hearing this news made my heart drop. Bianchi gave the Manor F1 Team its first points in Formula One’s biggest race: Monaco Grand Prix. Also, Jules was headed for greatness with Ferrari in the future. It is a shame that we did not get to see him win multiple world championships. He had the highest upside of any young open wheel driver in the world. Bianchi leaves behind his family who supported him every step of the way. #ForzaJules
I remember this tragic day like it was yesterday. It started off as an exciting day of racing at the Pocono Raceway. There was so much overtaking in this race that it reminded me of a restrictor plate race in NASCAR. Knowing that, I feared the Big One and unfortunately it happened. Race leader, Sage Karam, crashed out of the lead and debris from his car struck Wilson’s helmet. At first, I did not think that anything bad had happened. However, I became extremely nervous when I saw tons of medical personnel surrounding Wilson’s car. Reality struck me when I saw them preparing to airlift Wilson to a local hospital. Flashbacks of October 16, 2011, ran through my mind. I thought, “Please do not let this be another Dan Wheldon-like situation.” My worst fears were confirmed when Justin Wilson passed away on August 24, 2015, from a brain injury. I will miss watching the “Gentle Giant” race. Wilson always drove for smaller teams in IndyCar and never joined one of the heavyweights until this year. Too bad we never got to see how Wilson would have done for Andretti Autosport full-time. I will always remember Justin Wilson. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters. #WilsonStrong
*Very emotional stories, sad times, we lost great people in 2015, but we must continue into the future. I miss Byrnes, Bianchi, and Wilson. However, their legacies will live on forever*