LONGMONT, Colo. -- People watching car racing at the Colorado National Speedway would always assume the drivers were all men. But behind one of those racing cars was Troy Grote’s eldest daughter, 20-year-old Makayla Grote. Grote says his daughter was always inching closer to the finish line with each race.
“A couple people would ask -- boy he is good. And I always say that’s not a he, that’s a girl,” Grote said.
He says his daughter had an undeniable love for racing.
“She just loved racing. I have never seen somebody that had the passion of racing that she had,” said Grote.
Her happy place was at the race track
“When she got to that track and that helmet went on, you can see the look on her face. It was leave me alone look. She was a different girl,” said Grote.
A onetime sportsman of the year with lots of pro potential, Makayla earned her NASCAR license before her driver’s license. But her racing car will be missing its driver.
“She was an angel; she was God’s gift. I’m going to miss her we are all going to miss her,” said Grote.
Makayla was brutally stabbed, allegedly by a 15-year-old Lakewood boy, outside her Longmont apartment Saturday. Her father said wants people to remember the life his daughter lived and not how it ended.
“Everybody in the racing community knows her as a wonderful person and I want everybody else to know she was a wonderful person,” said Grote.
Off the race track, she was a caring sister and a loving daughter studying interior design at Aims Community College. Grote says his daughter was feminine with a tomboy side.
“You would see a tomboy come in when she was at that race track. She would grab a wrench and go to town,” said Grote.
The Colorado National Speedway General Manager Brian Laurence says Makayla could hold her own on the race track in male-dominated sport.
“She wasn’t the least bit shy about banging fenders and shoving somebody out the way, and the next minute, she is in the pits working on her car. And if it’s not her car, it’s somebody else’s,” said Laurence.
The family plans to hold Makayla’s funeral service at the Colorado National Speedway Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. A vigil to honor her memory will be held Friday from 6 to 7 p.m. at Jackson’s Park in Lakewood near her Green Mountain High School.