until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


A poignant IndyCar trip that offered a big lesson

by Jack Benyon
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

As The Race reflects on the 2023 motorsport season - one that featured a record-equalling Formula 1 schedule, no fewer than 39 MotoGP races, and no shortage of on- and off-track drama in IndyCar and Formula E - we’ve asked our writers to recount their standout motorsport memories or feelings from the past 12 months.

To kick off our countdown to the New Year, we're starting that celebration with a poignant entry from our American Editor Jack Benyon.

Get ready for an emotional journey. This story contains a tale of tragic loss, but also what I hope is a really happy ending!

Just over two years ago now, my brother, Ben, passed away from a heart attack before he'd even reached his 40th birthday. It was a horrendous time. I'll be forever grateful to my colleagues at The Race for their help then, and ever since.

On the first anniversary of his birthday since his passing, I was able to combine a perfectly timed trip to the Road America IndyCar race with a visit to Lambeau Field, the stadium of Ben's favourite NFL team, the Green Bay Packers. It was a wonderful way to mark the occasion.

For the second anniversary, I wasn't in a fantastic place mentally and didn't really know what to do. I'd always wanted to go to the Nashville IndyCar race the anniversary coincided with, and didn't want to miss it and then potentially spiral further.

I made the commitment to go, even though it felt in some way like I was not doing Ben's memory justice by not doing something about him to mark the occasion - as I don't think it would be a stretch to say he hated racing. Especially as it would have been his 40th birthday.

However, at Nashville, in the most unlikely place in the world, I encountered a fan named George wearing a Newcastle United football shirt. That was Ben's team, and I explained to George the sheer coincidence of seeing that shirt, thousands of miles away from Newcastle, on Ben's birthday, just over two years after he'd gone. What are the chances? Unbelievable.

Anyway, I'm quite averse to sharing my brother's story online as it sometimes feels like social media can be a superficial competition of who can grieve the first and/or loudest, but I share it now because I have taken a big lesson from this Nashville experience which I hope inspires you, too.

That is: get to a race track!

There's so many reasons not to go to a circuit these days, whether it's cost, the fact that so much information is available to you at home, and TV coverage is generally so great now.

But there's still so much to love about being trackside.

The track and event at Nashville was absolutely spectacular, easily one of the all-around best racing events I've been to.

I almost didn't go, and it would have been fine not to, but I was reminded of how great getting to a track can be and rewarded for my choice.

I know the cost of living generally is so high at the moment, so my Christmas wish to you all is to celebrate with the family you have, and that Father Christmas brings you some tickets to a fine racing institution - preferably Oulton Park, but I'm biased - for 2024.

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