When Tony Kanaan arrived home following the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway, his wife asked him why he continued to race in such a high-risk series.
Justin Wilson had been airlifted out of the track earlier that day after being hit in the head with a piece of debris from another car. He was in a coma, fighting for his life, and Kanaan's wife was one of many who wondered why the drivers were putting their lives on the line week after week.
His answer was simple.
"No one puts a gun to our heads and makes us do this," Kanaan said. "We're not rich, but we certainly won't starve if I don't do this. But I do it because I can't live without it."
That's the mentality of drivers, and none put themselves in as much danger as they do in the IndyCar Series. Wilson died Monday night from his injuries, just four years after Dan Wheldon was killed in the IndyCar season finale in a horrific crash.
Wilson's death from what, by all accounts, was simply a fluke accident has again thrust the series into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and it comes as IndyCar enters its season finale.
All that could be overshadowed by Wilson's death in a year IndyCar has seemingly bounced from one crisis to another.
IndyCar canceled its opener in Brazil over a promoter issue. The season began with a good race in Florida, but it was marred by the debut of the cars' new aerodynamic bodykits, which proved too brittle for the slightest contact. The streets of St. Petersburg were littered with broken parts and pieces, and a chunk of debris sailed over the grandstands and struck a pedestrian.
Two weeks later, the inaugural race in New Orleans was a rainy, caution-filled train wreck. And the lead-up to the showcase Indianapolis 500 was marred by three accidents in which cars went airborne, and a fourth incident in which James Hinchcliffe nearly bled to death when his leg was punctured by a broken piece of a crashed car.
It led to frantic rule changes before the race. One month later, the rules package for Fontana, Calif., was so aggressive that drivers complained the racing was too dangerous. They put on a spectacular show that day, but in front of a crowd of less than 10,000. The track won't return next season.
Just last month, IndyCar's competition chief, Derrick Walker, said he was quitting at the end of the season and series CEO Mark Miles said Walker believed he'd lost the support of many key players in the paddock.
The 2016 schedule has yet to be released and owners have complained the season is too short. The series doesn't seem viable with an offseason stretching nearly seven months. By comparison, NASCAR will have a dozen more races after IndyCar shutters its season this weekend.
"There are a lot of opinions out there … and from people who aren't qualified to give them," former racer and team owner Bobby Rahal said. "This stuff happens, especially when you are pressing the boundaries. These are the fastest race cars on earth, and there is a high level of risk to it. But it is what it is. People are always looking for any little hiccup to make a mountain out of a molehill."