People who knew 20-year-old Makayla Grote have a hard time describing just how special she was.
“Her friends describe her as fiercely-loyal, and in addition to be extremely competitive, someone that you wanted to be a part of your life,” said Brian Laurence, a general manager at the Colorado National Speedway.
Investigators say Grote died this weekend after being stabbed. A 15-year-old boy has been named a suspect in her death and is in custody.
Grote was an avid and talented race car driver, according to Laurence.
“Makayla was born to be a race car driver,” Laurence said. “At 15 years old, she had a NASCAR license to race before she could drive on Interstate 25 – [a] pretty darn incredible accomplishment for a young lady.”
PHOTOS: Remembering Makayla Grote
“She was very competitive on the track,” said Jim Nordhougen, a promoter for Colorado National Speedway. “Everybody liked to be around her.”
The two men say she was a kind, generous young woman who’s been involved in racing from a very young age.
“Makayla was not only involved in racing, but was a straight-A student, was pursuing a degree in computer-aided drafting in college,” Laurence said. “How she ever found a free moment in life to just take a breath, I don't know.
“But she managed to balance all those and still remain passionate about racing and dedicated to her friends and her family, and was the type of girl that would do absolutely anything that she could to help even a stranger.”
Nordhougen and Laurence said Grote was in the process of raising money to help kids from Children’s Hospital Colorado to get involved in racing, even if just for a day.
The men said Grote wanted others to experience what she loved so much.
“When we say a racing community is a family, what we mean by that is we're a family in every sense,” Laurence said. “We fight like cats and dogs on the track. That's what we do here, just like arguments between brothers and sister. But off the track we belong to one another, we stick up for one another she was a member of that family.
“She will be missed just like that.”
A candlelight vigil will be held for Grote on Nov. 24 from 6 to 7 p.m. at 1555 S. Union Blvd. in Lakewood.
There is a memorial service slated for Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. at the Colorado National Speedway.