Colin Edwards had more than racing on his mind at the start of Sunday's Indianapolis Grand Prix, after Peter Lenz - whom Edwards had been a mentor for - died due to injuries sustained a few hours earlier in a support race at the circuit.
13-year-old rising star Lenz fell on the warm-up lap of a MD250H race and was hit by another rider. Lenz later died in hospital. The other rider was not injured.
Lenz raced with the same #45 as Edwards, who had been helping him since 2009. Lenz suffered serious injuries in an accident last season, but had recovered to lead the MD250H class of this year's USGPRU championships.
Edwards, who had qualified ninth for the MotoGP race, dropped back to last by lap 8 of 28.
The Texan later made a pit stop to change his rear tyre and returned to the track, then pitted again and retired, blaming himself for the wrong tyre choice.
“I went for the hard tyre because I'd done a 41.6 on that tyre on Friday and felt pretty comfortable and confident," said Edwards. "But I had a problem with edge grip from the start and I was having an issue turning.
"I was riding on the limit but way off the pace so I pulled in for the softer tyre and did a few laps and my lap times were immediately better.
"The tyre choice cost me today but congratulations to Ben. He's just riding at an amazing level and second in this field is something to be proud of.”
Team-mate Spies later revealed that Edwards had been 'crushed' by the news of Peter's death.
"I found out about [the death] about an hour and a half before the race," said Spies.
"I didn't know him really well, but I had spoken to him once on the phone and sent some things to him [when he had been injured previously].
"You know, Colin was, I guess, quite close with him. And, you know, I could see it crushed Colin pretty bad before the race."