Drivers remember Ayrton Senna on anniversary of death

Keselowski, Ambrose recall talented driver 20 years later

As NASCAR teams loaded into Talladega Superspeedway for this weekend’s events, the motorsports community took time out to remember racing legend Ayrton Senna, 20 years after his death.

The three-time Formula One world champion, a hero in his native Brazil, was killed in a crash during the San Marino Grand Prix at the Imola circuit in Italy in 1994. Senna was 34. 

Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, 10 years old at the time, said that Senna’s passing hit home for a family of lifelong racers.

"For me personally it reminded me a lot of when Dale Earnhardt died in the sense of the kind of general mood and atmosphere within my own family’s household," Keselowski said last weekend at Richmond International Raceway. "My dad and brother used to wake up early and watch the Formula One races and I was only nine or 10 years old but I can remember my dad was a big Senna fan, and I can remember that he was never really a loud cheerleader type but I can remember him being more so of that than anything else I have ever seen, which was always unique to me. I just remember the somber tone in the household."

Marcos Ambrose echoed Keselowski’s thoughts.

"I was in disbelief like everyone," Ambrose said. "Senna’s passing feels like yesterday. One of the greatest of our generation, no doubt about it."

NASCAR’s premier series raced later in the day at Talladega in the spring of 1994 with Dale Earnhardt scoring the seventh of his 10 career victories on the 2.66-mile track. In a post-race interview in Victory Lane, "The Intimidator" paid tribute to the F1 legend.

"I want to send our thoughts and prayers to the family of Ayrton Senna and all his fans," Earnhardt said. "He was a great racer and it was a shame to see him go like he did. It’s tough."


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