Monday, July 20, 2015

Musings From the Weekend: Jules Bianchi

We lost a good one this weekend. Here is a run down of what got me thinking.

Jules Bianchi
Jules Bianchi passed away very early Saturday morning in Nice, France, succumbing to injuries suffered at last year's Japanese Grand Prix.

There is so much I want to say and yet I can't. Nearly two days have passed since finding out Bianchi went up to that Great Racetrack in the Sky as I type this and I can't fully form what I want to say.

I recommend reading Motorsports Talk's Tony DiZinno's piece on the passing of Jules Bianchi. He nails it on the head.

I don't want to say Jules Bianchi would have been world championship. There is no way to know if he was going to be world champion. But I will say this: We didn't see his best. Ninth in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix wasn't going to be the top item on Jules Bianchi's résumé had he raced for another two decades. Jules Bianchi was going to be do great things. Whether it was winning the World Drivers' Championship, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the Indianapolis 500 or hell becoming the first European-born NASCAR Cup champion, Bianchi was going to doing something great. Unfortunately, we will never know exactly what he would have accomplished. We are left grasping, trying to find the right words to capture the career of a man who did not get a sufficient amount of time to accomplish anything.

I hoped he was going to wake up. I hoped he was going to regain all physical and cognitive functions. I hoped he was going to get behind the wheel of a car. I hoped for the Hail Mary pass. I hoped to see Jules Bianchi define the odds and become the example for never giving up no matter how bad things were going to get.

While he never woke up, while he never got back behind the wheel of a car while, Jules Bianchi left us, he still is an example to never give up. Two hundred eighty-five days. Jules Bianchi fought for 285 days. Jules Bianchi did not lose. He gave it his all. He set an example we should all live by.

I don't think the #17, the number Jules Bianchi selected to use in his final year of Formula One, should be retired. I don't believe in retiring numbers. Right now, there is probably a young person in France who is starting karting and admired Jules Bianchi. Her name could be Sophie or Emma or it could be a gentleman named Paul or Thierry and from this day forward will have the #17 on their kart and who knows? Ten years from now they could be entering Formula One and will want to continue to honor the man who inspired her or him to become drivers and follow their dreams and want to use the #17. I wouldn't want to rob them or anyone of that opportunity to honor their hero.

This world proved once again that while another young soul was lost, it is all ok. Max Chilton, Bianchi's teammate at Marussia last year, scored his first career Indy Lights victory at Iowa Speedway of all places. What would Jules Bianchi have thought seeing his former teammate driving an oval? Would it have piqued his interest to try them? Would he think Chilton was nuts for trying ovals in the first place? Regardless of what he would have thought, I am sure Jules Bianchi had a front row seat to Chilton's victory and I am sure Jules Bianchi will have an eye on many future races, whether they are Formula One or Max Chilton competing in Indy Lights, FIA WEC or IndyCar down the road.

May Jules Bianchi rest comfortably for eternity.

Unfortunately, They Come In Threes
Bernat Martinez and Daniel Rivas Fernandez lost their lives competing in the MotoAmerica race, a support race to the World Superbikes weekend, at Laguna Seca. Martinez was 35 and Fernandez was 27. Both riders hailed from Spain. Martinez was fifth in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.

Winners From the Weekend
You know about Ryan Hunter-Reay and Max Chilton but did you know...

Chaz Davies swept the World Superbike races from Laguna Seca.

Kyle Busch picked up his third NASCAR Cup win in four races as he won at Loudon.

João Paulo de Oliveira won the Super Formula race from Fuji.

Weiron Tan won the Pro Mazda race from Iowa.

Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR Grand National Series race at Loudon.

Coming Up This Weekend
The Spa 24 Hours.
Formula One heads to the Hungaroring.
NASCAR runs the Brickyard 400.
The Trucks will be at Eldora on Wednesday.
The Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona classes head to Lime Rock Park.