Rest In Peace Dan Wheldon

Dan WheldonPhoto courtesy of ID Agency.

It’s Monday, the day after the horrifying death of Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s 1.5 mile oval with 20 degree turns and 9 degree straights. The high banking results in super high speeds. These open-wheel IndyCars can reach 225 MPH and run 3 or 4 wide. I followed IndyCar religiously in the 90’s when they were called CART but after many financial failures, loss of sponsors, and mismanagement I stopped following it. I still attend the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on an annual basis just to see how some of my favorite drivers are progressing in the field. Some have become team owners, some are still drivers.

It’s only today that was I able to carefully watch video footage of the collision, flipping through pictures, and reading stories, all brought back memories of many fatalities involving open-wheel racing. Some come to mind are…


Greg Moore at Fontana,


Jeff Krosnoff at Toronto,


and of course Ayrton Senna at Imola.


In 1996, I was at the U.S. 500 in Michigan when Adrian Fernandez’s wheel came detached during a 200MPH collision and launched into the spectator stand. The wheel and debris injured 9 people and killed 3. After that race CART mandated wheel tethers to the keep that from happening again.


I’m still at a complete lost for words as I view the videos and images. They show carbon fiber scraps raining from the sky, cars lifting off, sparks flying, and fireballs with comet like tails. It looked more like a staged production from Transformers, instead these were real images, real effects, and real lives. They were so graphic that it doesn’t even leave any room for imagination. This crash took out 15 cars and red flagged the race.

As exciting ovals are for spectators, I feel it doesn’t have a place in open-wheel racing. It’s a recipe for disaster – a human catapult. Sunday was an example of that. A small speedway with high banking is like throwing frozen berries in a high-speed blender with the lid off. We all know when entering the career of motor sports, the possibilities of injuries or fatalities are magnified exponentially but it is still a tragedy when one is lost. I hope the IndyCar league will take a good look at their track schedule in the near future and put aside contractual greed for lives.

We get so caught up in our daily lives, already planning trip for the winter or the summer. The fact is we are all susceptible to any harm at any time. Any loss is tragic especially ones that are taken so suddenly. Rest In Peace Dan Wheldon. Condolences to the family.

I’m not down to take copyright images, so here is a link to Wall Street Journal.


3 comments for “Rest In Peace Dan Wheldon

  1. October 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    What a tragedy when one is lost!!Especially one that is so suddenly..This was one of the worst tragedy in IndyCar league!!

    R.I.P Dan Wheldon. my prayers and Condolences to the family.
    You will always be remember…

  2. Chozn4service
    November 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Dan Wheldon was a really nice and down to earth man! I was blessed to cross his path and able to spend some time with Dan this past July at Indianapolis Motor Speedway doing Hot Laps with Team Chevy.

    Dan was behind the wheel of 2011 Camaro SS and he saw my polo shirt with the Indiana State Police logo and he asked if I were a trooper. When I told him I was, he told me how much respect and admiration he had for me and those in my field of work. I had to tell him I had the same admiration for him and what he did for a living. He said by me being a troop and used to driving at high speeds “Lets go have some fun!” I told him to drive it like we stole it!” 145/150MPH we were turning laps at IMS and talking about retirement for me and life after police work to which I responded “I’m looking at your hair and thinking I can retire and become your personal hair stylist being a licensed barber, double as your security point man and driver. He thought that was a great idea and asked how we could stay in touch.

    I have a couple of great photos of Dan and I on that day in July. His charismatic smile will forever be remembered along with that dynamic personality! My thoughts and prayers go to his wife Susie and his two sons Sebastian and Oliver.

    • Den
      November 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      Those are great memories, thanks for sharing them with us!

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