THE EDITOR REMEMBERING JUSTIN WILSON
“Even for those who had another
favorite driver, Justin was the
default option, the guy no-one
would ever root against”
These Justin Wilson t-shirts, as modeled by Michael Andretti
(second from right) and the Andretti Autosport team, are being
sold to benefit the Wilson Children’s Fund. They can be ordered
Scott Dixon was a
of the Levitt/
he won his fourth
Turn to Page 46
for the feature.
ustin Wilson was one of those guys
we had on speed dial for whenever
RACER wanted an intelligent, considered
and balanced opinion on the motorsport
matters of the day, because he was
extraordinary selfless. He never tried to
turn a potentially political hot topic in a
direction that suited him, but instead saw
validity in the opinion of each one of his
peers…even when the rest of us didn’t!
Wilson was also one of those few drivers
who always tried to observe racing from
the fan’s perspective, either in person or
on TV. Before he became a racer, he was
like you and me – someone who spent
time and money watching racing – and
he never forgot what it was like to be
the other side of the fence.
So despite being initially very shy at the
attention he received, Justin nonetheless
welcomed IndyCar paddocks being access-
all-areas for fans. “That’s exactly how it
should be for anyone who’s paid to watch
us,” he said once, “otherwise all they see are
helmets sticking out of cars. That’s not
special or memorable. I think people come
to a race instead of watching it on TV to
feel the atmosphere and meet their heroes.”
He’d have been too modest to realize it –
too humble for it to even cross his mind
– but Wilson became a hero to many. Even
for those who might have another favorite,
JWil was the default option, the guy no-one
would ever dream of rooting against. He was
too unusually nice to leave people unmoved.
But even if you never met him, never
heard what he was like as a man, he’d win
you over with his skills: Justin’s visibly
strenuous efforts to send a midfield car to
the front of the pack were always one of
the highlights of a race weekend.
It still feels surreal to write about him in
the past tense. Surreal and tragic. However
much our tribute (starting page 22) is a
celebration of a great man’s life and career,
the pain of losing him is still raw. Our hearts
go out primarily to his wonderful family,
but also to countless fans worldwide.
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