It’s been 13 years since a freak accident during what should have been a routine test session took the life of rising Funny Car star Eric Medlen and put into motion a father’s quest to transform personal tragedy into meaningful change in race car design.

In this, the debut episode of Legends: The Series, Season Four, John Medlen talks about his son’s passion for life, his affinity for people and how his pursuit of a dream ultimately landed him in the seat of one of the world’s most powerful race cars and made him a six-time NHRA tour winner. “

(Driving) was something he wanted to do very, very, very bad,” Medlen said of his son, who was just three races into his fourth pro season when he died at age 33. “I did everything I could to talk him out of it (but) I could see that’s where his heart was. That’s what he wanted to do.” Nevertheless, overcoming his own grief in the aftermath of the accident was a slow and very painful process, one in which he insists Eric played a major role.

“We all get to choose the path we take in life,” he said. “You’ve gotta make the best decisions you can, but it’s your life. It’s a time that God has given us on this planet and you get to pick. We have an arrival date and an ending date and there’s a dash between it all. We get to pick how we live that dash. (Eric) was a perfect example of living (that dash) to the fullest."