Racing community honors Longmont stabbing victim

Makayla Grote's memory is really the story here.

DACONO - It's been a little more than a week since a woman from Lakewood was stabbed and killed at a Longmont apartment.

While the teen accused of the crime faces several charges including first-degree murder, Makayla Grote's memory is the bigger story.

Hundreds of people honored her life Sunday afternoon at the Colorado National Speedway. Makayla raced cars and had been a fan of the sport since she was little, so the service understandably centered around her love of racing.

The memorial started with dozens of race cars with a pink stripe through their numbers driving around the track. As the cars circled, people were holding up No. 1 signs on their hands to symbolize Makayla's "final lap" and that she was "No. 1 in their hearts."

A few people said they personally were pointing to Heaven which is where they say Makayla is now.

A variety of people shared memories of Makayla with Sunday's large crowd including her boyfriend, her high school principal, a few crew members from her racing team and her dad.

"Now that she's been called home, she can give 110 percent as an angel," Troy Grote said.

Some of the memories shared made people laugh like when her dad told everyone about the first time she drove a go-kart and crashed into eight bales of hay but still loved it. Other accounts that were shared were hard to listen to, including when Makayla's best friend, Kristen Eilertson, described what it was like losing her and how remembering her friend eases the pain.

"When I talk about the joy she brought me in life and the effect she had on everyone around her, my light begins to brighten again." Eilertson said. "I encourage everyone to continue sharing memories because I want to keep my soulmate alive even when she's not physically here anymore."

Just as the memorial started, it also ended with the race cars circling the track and eventually leaving followed by a hearse marked with Makayla's number, 97.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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