Tragedy strikes Springfield as one of the town's most beloved citizens dies in a freak car-racing accident. During a walk through the Springfield bird sanctuary, the Simpson family discovers a new auto-racing track. On the track's opening day, all of Springfield gathers to see the racing action. During a routine T-shirt promotion during the intermission, Maude Flanders is knocked from atop the stadium bleachers and crashes to her death. After a brief, poignant funeral, Ned must learn to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. Homer tries his best to help his neighbor, even going as far as pushing the still-grieving Ned back into the dating scene. After a series of dates that run the gamut from bad to horrible, Ned resigns himself to being alone. But in his darkest hour, he draws some inspiration from Rachel Jordan, the lead singer of a Christian rock band. Touched by Rachel's talent and beauty, Ned takes his first small step toward happiness.