DACONO, Colo. -- The Colorado racing community said goodbye to one of its own Sunday afternoon.
Makayla Grote, 20, died last weekend after police say a 15-year-old boy stabbed her at her Longmont apartment.
The Boulder County District Attorney's Office alleges he had a “kill list” that named Grote’s younger sister as his top target, but also said anyone else in the home would be “fair game."
Grote's funeral and end of life celebration were held at Colorado National Speedway, where she was an accomplished race car driver.
“Normally the chapel is full of the smell of flowers. We have the smell of gasoline,” the pastor said to begin the service.
The stand and track were packed with hundreds of people to honor Grote’s life. She was a popular racer at CNS and was said to be an inspiration to young girls.
“There is no paying event today. There is no race to be won,” fellow driver Adam Hilton said. “It’s a huge loss.”
Outside of racing, the Green Mountain High School graduate was involved in theater and had lots of friends. She was described as someone who could light up a room.
“There is no doubt that Makayla has left her mark on all of us. I challenge all of you to be more like Makayla: Fierce, but also kind,” a former teacher said during the memorial.
Before the services began, dozens of race cars lined the track behind Grote’s No. 97 car. Her car led them four times around the track.
Pink tape struck out the racing numbers on every other car, while Grote's fans held up one finger to symbolize that she was now No. 1.
“We have her the No. 1. She was the No. 1 spot,” friend Curtis Heldenbrand said.
He drove the car directly behind the one carrying Grote's ashes around the track.
“It was emotional, knowing that the car in front of me had Makayla with the driver and it was just emotional knowing this was the last time she was going to be on the racetrack,” he said.
As the checkered flags waved signaling the end of the laps, the rest of the cars cleared the track.
Grote's car made one final victory lap as her father hung out of her car’s window with his index finger pointed to the sky signaling No. 1.
Her No. 97 race car drove off one last time followed by the hearse.
“I know none of the rest of us would want to take [No. 97] from her. It’s probably going to rest in peace,” Hilton said.
The Grote family said it is still dealing with the unexpected funeral costs and associated travel costs.
They have set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs.AlertMe