It is always with a heavy heart whenever we have to write about the tragic loss of a racing driver. I think our friend and colleague Doug Patterson said it best “I love this sport for the greatness and awesomeness it can bring out in competitors and fans. I hate this sport for the unbearable price it on occasion demands.” That pretty much sums it up.
Justin Wilson was truly one of the great ones, both in skill and stature. At a commanding 6’4″ he was a tight fit in most race cars, especially those of the open wheel variety. Not only was he the tallest man in the paddock, he also had the skill to make a Coyne car of all things finish better than any driver could ever hope to achieve. Things were definitely going in the right direction for the big man when he was picked up by Andretti for the final 5 races of the season. I’m sure most of you have already read about his career highlights by now so I won’t repeat them, but what I’ll remember most about Justin Wilson is how nice a person he was. You’ll justifiably hear that from almost everyone. Justin honestly never said anything bad about another person. It just wasn’t in his nature to be negative. I find it funny that many called him Bad Ass Wilson. A nickname that was a stark contrast to his attitude but an apt description of his driving skills.
I think the picture below by Matt Kalish from Mid-Ohio is fitting. It shows Justin Wilson speeding off on the high road into the great beyond.
Rest in peace big fella. I’m happy we had the opportunity to meet you.
The OpenPaddock Team