IndyCar driver Justin Wilson has died from a head injury he sustained in a race over the weekend, racing officials announced Monday evening.
"Anyone who follows our sport knows Justin is one of the most highly respected people in our business. He will be missed," IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said in announcing Wilson's death.
"He was a great guy, one of the few, if only, guys who was friend of everyone in the paddock," said driver Ed Carpenter, who was with Miles, representing all IndyCar drivers. "As challenging as today is and yesterday was, he was doing what we all love to do."
Wilson's brother, Stefan Wilson, also a racecar driver, later said on Twitter, "Can't even begin to describe the loss I feel right now. He was my Brother, my best friend, my role model and mentor. He was a champion!"
Andretti Autosport, for whom Wilson drove, said that "while Justin was only part of the Andretti lineup for a short time, it only took a second for him to forever become part of the Andretti family."
It added: "His life and racing career is a story of class and passion surpassed by none."
The 37-year-old father of two was struck by a large piece of debris from another driver's car following a single-car accident Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
MotorSportsTalk: Justin Wilson Dies at Age 37
A heavy piece of the nose from Sage Karam's car appeared to strike the British driver in the head before the debris ricocheted high into the air. Wilson did not appear to have control of his car as it veered left and directly into an interior wall.
The series heads to Sonoma, California, on Wednesday to begin preparing for the finale, in which six drivers remain eligible to win the title Sunday.
IndyCar has had its share of safety issues since the season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida, where debris from a car sailed over the grandstands and struck a fan in the concession area. The woman hit said in a lawsuit filed against IndyCar her skull was fractured. She contends she fell backward and hit her head after she was struck by debris.
IndyCar made a series of rule changes to fortify the many parts and pieces on its new aerodynamic body kits, but the nose that flew off of Karam's car is not a tethered part. The series was also forced into action during the buildup to the Indianapolis 500 after three cars went airborne during practices.
"Motor racing is never going to be 100 percent safe. If it was, there would be nobody in the grandstands," racing legend Mario Andretti told The Associated Press on Monday. "But we've come a very, very far way in terms of safety. Now this will be looked at it and addressed appropriately."
Andretti called this "a perfect storm, and the thing that every driver fears: getting caught up in somebody else's mistake."