Dan Wheldon

Dan Wheldon killed in crash at IndyCar season finale

IndyCarPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Dan Wheldon, Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/Agajanian
Wheldon pictured at the Indianapolis 500, which he won earlier this year

Dan Wheldon has lost his life following a crash at the start of the IndyCar season finale in Las Vegas.

Wheldon was running in the middle of the 34-car pack when the crash happened after 12 laps had been completed.

He was taken by helicopter to the University Medical Centre but succumbed to his injuries

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard announced the news following a meeting with the drivers. He said: “IndyCar is sad to announce that Dan Wheldon passed away from unsurvivable injuries.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan and his family. IndyCar, its drivers and teams have decided to end the race. We will run a five-lap salute in honour of Dan.”

Fifteen cars were involved in the crash and three other drivers – Will Power, Pippa Mann and JR Hildebrand – were also injured.

The race was red-flagged and stopped following the accident, and abandoned after the news of Wheldon’s condition was announced. The remaining drivers staged a five-lap display run in Wheldon’s honour.

Wheldon, 33, won the IndyCar series in 2005. He won the Indianapolis 500 for the second time earlier this year in addition to the victory he scored in his championship year.

He did not have a full-time drive in the series in 2011 and the Las Vegas event was his third race of the year. He had started the race from last place and was in the running for a special prize of $5 million had he won.

IndyCar

195 comments on “Dan Wheldon killed in crash at IndyCar season finale”

  1. RIP. Terrible day. Perhaps its time for Indycar to spend some time thinking about oval safety. Too many deaths in the past 20 years.

    1. There is a new safer car for next year that Dan helped test

      1. It’s so sad, the new car is specifically designed to prevent these types of accidents. Dan helped develop it and was just one race away, one race too late. It’s all I could think about when I heard the news. I’d maybe, somewhat naively thought we had left this sad era of loosing drivers.

      2. The new chasis wouldn’t have changed anything. Hitting another car from behind at 220 mph will launch you into the air no matter what.

        The problem wasn’t the car. The problem was the track, which was not designed for open-wheel racing, but for stock cars. On top of that, this being the last time they were going to run the current cars, 34 cars were allowed to race in such a small track. We all saw how that ended.

        I was fortunate enough to meet Dan a couple of times, and have two signed photos in my collection. I saw the crash live and I knew it was serious. But almost 24 hrs later I still can believe he is gone.

        1. Victorinox – Spot on it was insane to put 34 cars on a short, 1.5 mile, high speed, 220+MPH, oval and not realize it was inviting disaster. Why? do you suppose 34 rolling billboards was the reason.

          IMO the organizers and governing body have a lot of blame in this tragedy. We all recognize that motorsport is dangerous but unconcionable to stack the odds against the drivers.

  2. tragic, r.i.p

  3. No words… RIP Dan.

  4. What a sad day for motorracing. I´ve never watched IndyCar but this is shocking news. My thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace Dan Wheldon.

  5. I hoped I would never ever see this live again on TV after 1994. Sadly I did.

    A great racer has passed away doing what he lived for, battling through the field from the back of the pack for a chance to win the race.

    Rest In Peace Dan Wheldon.

    1. Me too. It had an eerily similar vibe to that tragic day. I knew it was bad when they’d tarped his car and no others. I think I’m done with oval racing. It never grabbed me in the first place, and this has permanently turned me off.

      1. You just get a horrible feeling when the big crashes come along, felt it in 07 and 09. Just a sick dread in your heart that makes you start hoping for good news.

        This is just too tragic, it’s why F1 is the way it is, exciting as this sort of racing can be, it’s no where near worth it.

        Rest In Peace a champion.

    2. It’s a great flaw of motor racing that this can happen.

      RIP Dan Wheldon.

    3. Brutal scene. Dan was like a mentor to my fellow Angolan driver Duarte Ferreira who drives for Izod team for their Indy Light Championships team.

      What a loss. I hope his family and friends find comfort to face this tragic moment.

    4. Shocking and terrible news. My thoughts and prays with his family.

      We got away with some big crashes this year, the 2 Audis at Le Man spring to mind, which served to remind us that all motorsport is dangerous. Sadly yesterday we wasnt as fortunate and lost a great driver and human being. RIP Dan Wheldon.

  6. RIP Dan Wheldon

  7. Feeling sick after all this. So truly terrible to hear this news.

  8. RIP Dan. Tragic news.

  9. Terrible accident and sad outcome.

    It’s time to re-think oval racing.

  10. Tragic news. On hearing that he had been airlifted I kept hoping that he would okay. Very sad day. RIP Dan.

  11. Horrid. I missed it, but I was linked to the accident (before I was aware of the consequences). Very reminiscent now looking back of Imola ’94, the way the camera cut from the on-board before the fatal accident.

    The real tragedy is not that a man died doing what he loved, it was that he was only in that race due to the $5m dollar bounty race to “add to the show”. Furthermore, if he had been in that race “on merit” (as many would argue he should have been anyway given his win in Indianapolis), it is very possible that he would have been at the pack of the pack.

    1. He already gained 10 spots. He had a great opening race.. But who cares now :(

    2. Flying Lobster 27
      17th October 2011, 9:26

      He definitely was in the race “on merit” – had he not won Indy, he would have been second for a third year in a row.
      He was planning to share the $5M prize money with a lucky fan, which seemed fitting as the race was in Vegas.
      Life is clearly not something to be gambled with though.

      RIP Dan, and, as his crew chief observed after the Indy win: WellDone.

  12. That Dan Wheldon would be the talk of the race today was a sure thing.
    But nobody wanted it in this way :(

    All eyes on him.. Could he deliver that dream ending and take the 5mil dollars. In the end nobody cares.

    It was hearthbreaking to see the drivers in their cars, crying while getting ready for the 5lap salute.

    RIP DAN!

  13. Horrible, so sad to watch it all unfold Live.

    I had been lucky enough never to witness a death in motorsport Live until today. A really really sad day :(

    1. Its a horrid, Horrid feeling :(

    2. I never have. I am so, so glad I went to bed now. I’m so sorry guys. That’s something no-one on this planet wants to see and I pray it never does again. Ever.

      1. I agree, it must have been terrible to watch live. I had a nap, woke up and realised I would have missed the race and found this tragic news.

    3. FlyingLobster27
      17th October 2011, 12:32

      I was watching it live too. The problem is when you watch this sort of thing unfold, once the race is stopped, nothing happens, drivers and teams plod around until officials decide to call a meeting or to restart, but you can’t turn away from it. You want to know as soon as news gets through, and you hope not to hear “he’s gone”.

      To me, this felt reminiscent of Greg Moore, killed in the last race of CART 1999, in car 99, only this time the race was stopped. RIP

      1. I heard it on the radio and it took about 5 hours to find an HQ version of the video. Yes, I watched it, intentionally.

        I, too, thought of Greg Moore’s accident. But that was one of those accidents that you just.can’t.survive.

        I thought of Jeff Krosnoff’s accident, which seemed far more familiar and the only fatal crash I witnessed as it occurred.

  14. R.I.P. Dan Wheldon, terrible day for motor racing.

  15. I saw it live too.. shook me up bad. Never seen anything like it… RIP dan wheldon.

  16. RIP Dan Wheldon :(

  17. Rip Dan Wheldon! Brilliant guy and a talented driver!

  18. streetfightingman
    16th October 2011, 23:35

    R.I.P

    very tragic =/

  19. Wow. What a shock. The initial accident didn’t look that bad, just two guys making contact and finding the wall. But then it snowballed and two more cars became airborne, and that was bad enough … but then Wheldon arrived on-scene, sailing through the air, and you knew it was a bad accident. I can only hope he didn’t suffer, that the force of the impact was enough to knock him out and that he never had to feel anything, because that was one of the worst accidents I’ve ever seen.

    Rest in peace.

  20. Just stunned.

    RIP Dan

  21. If there is any justice in the universe, Dan Wheldon will tonight be taking his rightful place alongside Fangio, Senna, Earnhardt, Brock and all the other motorsport immortals.

    RIP Dan Wheldon.

    1. Well said. RIP.

  22. Sad sad day for mothor-racing, only followed Indy from this season!

    I pray to never have to watch another death in any form of motor-racing.

    Whoever runs the Indy series needs to get rid of oval tracks, open wheel racing is dangerous another let alone on an oval!!

    RIP Dan

  23. RIP… I was shocked by the crash itself… even if Dan had survived I would still be paralyzed… we will miss him a lot

  24. I am so very sad to hear of the death of such a great English driver. I followed his career from his days as a chubby teenager to the heights of Indycar Champion and double Indy500 winner. His win this year was amazing and a fitting tribute. RIP Dan.

  25. RIP Dan. Horrible stuff.

  26. Rest in peace, Dan Wheldon.

  27. absolutely terrible news. to think, he posted on twitter just over two hours ago, and, tragically, his life is now lost. rest easy, dan.

  28. this is just terrible.

    aside from the wheldon family, open wheel oval racing will struggle to overcome this.

  29. Stunned and saddened. I saw the Senna crash on TV in 94 but was too young to really take it in. Watching events unfold tonight was heartbreaking. Will stay with me for a very long time i fear.

  30. That is horrifying. RIP Dan Wheldon.

  31. Now is not the time to be getting angry about oval tracks and Indycar safety standards. Deaths happen on road courses too. When emotion has calmed down, the issues behind this tragedy can be examined with logic, and with the goal of making Indycar racing – on ovals and road courses – safer for the future, so that this doesn’t happen again.

    My heart is with the entire Indycar community, and with the Formula One family who will be waking up to this awful news.

  32. Stephen Higgins
    16th October 2011, 23:48

    When I saw that massive shunt Allan McNish had at Le Mans earlier this year, I thought it was the worst crash I’d ever seen in motor racing, and that it was a miracle no-one was hurt.

    Then I saw what happened to Dan.

    To see a crash that horrific reminded me so much of watching Greg Moore’s fatal accident at California in the final race of the 2000 CART season.

    It seems that every once in a while, motor racing simply runs out of miracles.

    Dan Wheldon was probably the best British driver never to race in F1, and what makes it so sad was that he was only racing as a ‘wildcard’ in the first place.

    I just hope some part of the F1 comunity does something to remember him when we roll up in Dheli.

    R.I.P Daniel Wheldon.

    1. ‘Every once in a while, motor racing simply runs out of miracles.’

      That may be the best way to think of it for the time being.

      How simply horrible.

  33. here’s an interview from yesterday:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctmpZuselWc

  34. This is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced live as a racing fan. The thought that it is one billionth of what the people closest to him are going through…

    Now cracks a noble heart.
    Good-night, sweet prince;
    And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

  35. I love indycar but oval racing is such so dangerous

  36. One of open wheels’ worst days since ’94. I am completely shattered.

  37. RIP Dan. My sincerest condolences to him and his family. So sad that he lost his life racing here in our American Indy series. I mourn and have a heavy heart with all of the UK today as we lost an English great.

  38. Just 5 months ago, I met Dan when he came to race with us at the Florida Winter Tour. Even at the peak of his career he came back to race karts with us at our local tracks, running at the front on the pack the whole time, and then getting out of the kart to talk to all his fans and the kids that idolized him. I remember seeing him, and I even spoke to him for a bit. When he won the Indy 500 this year I was ecstatic, thinking finally he’s back to top form, and I was hoping he’d get a permanent drive for next season. But now, the one race he got a seat for, driving for 5 million dollars, he passed away after an awful accident.

    R.I.P. Dan, you’ll always be our idol

  39. My biggest and now fondest memory of Dan Wheldon is the 2007 St Petersburg race. My father cried out his name during the drivers parade and Wheldon spun around to look in our direction, much to my obvious embarrassment. I never knew the man in person, but I respected him as a sportsman and as a human being. And as we debate every two weeks over the performance or lack of of our favourite drivers, often emotions become frayed, but we must never forget that racing is exactly that. A race! It is not life or death, these are human beings just like us who have been given the God given skill to drive at this level.
    As I felt as a thirteen year old when Aryton Senna was killed, I, like alot of you feel very numb. And as I did seventeen years ago I cried, at the total injustice that sometimes life can be. I would like to offer my deepest sympathy to Dan Wheldon’s friends and family on what must be the most difficult of days. Thankyou Dan for everything you did for us all! RIP

  40. Oh my god, I’ve no words for what I just read. I’m feeling horrible. I can’t believe it. I didn’t really wanted to say this, but I think it’s time for IndyCar to adopt some safety features from F1 cars. Hope next year’s car will be safer.

    RIP Dan Wheldon.

  41. I don’t even know what to say, R.I.P.

  42. I may not be following IndyCar, but I shall say Rest in Peace, Dan. :'(

  43. I think we get a little blase about accidents in motorsport. With safety for competitors, teams and spectators being paramount, we do tend to ignore or maginalise it because we assume the survival cell and the protective clothing and the roll hoop will all do their respective jobs and a driver will be alright. From the on-board footage of Wheldon’s car – the camera somehow remained intact past the point of impct – there was no immediately-obvious threat to Wheldon. The survival cell of his car was left intact, and from the on-board camera, he did not appear to be injured to begin with. Taken at face value, the biggest danger to him was a flare up of fuel that burned for a second and then went out (and his helmet and overalls would have protected him from that). It looked like something he could walk away from, maybe a little sore in places, but while we all knew the accident was a bad one, the attitude towards modern motorsports meant that nobody really expressed any concern any driver’s life at the time. Not becaus they didn’t care, but because we no longer really appreciate how dangerous motorsport is.

    1. I agree. It has been a big wake up call to me, I feel like a bit of an idiot now for getting to the stage, like you say, where you just expect everything to be ok because that’s what usually happened. I suddenly have less desire to get back into my go-kart and bang wheels at 150km/h.

    2. Sounds like you were looking at Will Power’s car. And of course there was concern. How on earth did you get the impression that people weren’t?

      1. Yes, on the British Sky feed one of the drivers they had in the studio was clearly choked up and finding it hard to speak even before Dan had been removed from the car, and the presenter was desperately trying to convince us and himself that it didn’t necessarily mean the worst that the helicopter was starting and the car had been covered up.

        I felt sick seeing the crash live; it just looked unreal but you knew it was actually happening…

        1. That was Johnny Mowlem, he was a close personal friend of Dan. Im amazed he was able to sit there at the end of their coverage to be honest, he was a mess.

          RIP Dan, thanks for the memories, it was a pleasure to be a fan.

  44. Rest in peace Dan, we miss you! Xxx

  45. Dan Wheldon’s championship challange in 2005 was the reason that got me watching Indycar and i’ve watched almost ever race since. Was brilliant in the commentary box this season but should have been in the car.

    Some brilliant quotes already on here such as best Brit not to get his chance at f1, Loved the story from The Limit sa when he was go karting and talking away with his fans. Even before the usual tributes you never herd a bad word about Dan. He sounded like a very warm man who will be much missed by Britain, Indycar his fans and his young family

    RIP

  46. Very tragic, very sudden. RIP Dan Wheldon.

  47. This is the saddest day since I started watching Motorsports, it is also my first fatality, and it was live :'(. It’s too sad, too quick, too painful..

    I don’t know how the drivers had the energy to get back in the car and drive! I was breaking down on my couch, and I don’t even know Dan Wheldon, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what were they feeling?!

    Makes us think about all the other heroes who are in Motorsports heaven, hope he just joined them all.. May they all rest in peace..
    Moments like this make us realize how much we take things for granted, when watching a race we don’t think these things can happen in a split second! Then something like this happens and we are gobsmacked, shocked, and devastated all over again.. Winning was never the priority.. Safety is.

    It doesn’t matter today which driver we support, or which series we prefer, or who won.. Today all Motorsport fans are one thing: Sad about Dan Wheldon.. May he rests in peace..

    1. @LAK hear, hear. Everything you just wrote is how I feel and felt. This was the 2nd fatality I’ve seen, it’s just horrible.

    2. @LAK, @JT77, yes it was just awful to watch, it leaves you shocked and stunned. I can only imagine it is so much worse for friends and colleges throughout the paddock who know him, and of course, his family. Condolences to them.

    3. @LAK Absolutely correct. It’s terrible that it takes occasions like this for us to remember not to take life for granted.

  48. Always a shame. RIP Dan, and may God watch over your family.

  49. Tiff Needels tweet was particularly poingnant. http://twitter.com/#!/tiff_tv/status/125698678357893120

    Absolutely typical that this would happen in the last race before they move to the new car that was designed to prevent these kinds of “airborne” incidents.

    I saw a close up image gallery of the incident linked not long before Dans death was announced and his airbox and roll hoop were completely gone. If the car can’t protect the driver in those types of accidents on an oval then they need to get off the ovals.

    1. not to mention the fact Dan Wheldon had tested that car intensively for its development this year @spawinte

  50. Extremely saddening news! I highly advise those who haven’t to watch the crash. To me it raises serious questions about the lack of safety in these Indycars, when you consider Kubica’s crash in 07 or Mcnish’s Le Mans crash this year. Several Indy Cars not only disintegrate but several also burst in to flames! Which in this day and age, is extremely disturbing! Serious review of saftey needed for the series.

  51. I’m kind of lost for words really. Really sad day for motor racing.

    RIP Dan.

    Oval racing has to go or the cars and circuits have to be made much much safer. Too many deaths in the last decade or two. Motorsport is dangerous but no one should get killed doing it. That accident looked so horrible!

  52. Today, I thought, ‘what a day of racing. It’s gonna be a good one.’

    Start off with F1 in the morning, followed by a whole afternoon of BTCC. And to follow it up, Indy Car. And it was the main race, the one to decide who will be champion.

    It was suppose to be a joyous and memorable race for 2 things, Danica leaving and to see who would be crowned champion. I could not believe what I had seen, a big crash but you always get this feeling in back of your head that everyones gonna be fine, thats how I felt. But seeing every driver come out of that interview, I couldn’t contain it anymore. I just wept, it was horrible. It felt surreal then and it still feels surreal now. I still cannot believe this.

    RIP Dan Wheldon, great driver and a true Indy legend. You will be terribly missed and my heart goes out to the whole Wheldon family.

  53. I, for one, hope that Indycar don’t do something rash and introduce a whole host of changes designed to slow the cars down as a knee-jerk reaction to this accident. Yes, a review is needed. They need to understand why this tragedy happened, and they need to take steps to prevent it from ever happening again. But they need to do it properly, and they need to do it right. They’ve got plenty of time before the 2012 season begins. I think that to rush in changes to slow everyone down without really getting to the heart of the matter would be a poor way to remember a man who dedicated his life to going faster.

    1. First of all, the new car should help a lot to prevent this kind of accidents and improve the chances of a driver if an accident occurs.

      And one should really question the logic of getting this many cars on a 1.5 mile oval to have a go at winning.
      Even the concept that brought Wheldon in for this race, a challenge to race from the back of the pack to win it must have meant charging from the go.
      All these things factor up and combined with unlucky circumstances ended in tragedy.

  54. R.I.P Dan Wheldon. Such a tragic end to such an promising talent. Indy 500 is still fresh in my memory.

  55. my days… RIP Dan. sad day for racing.

  56. Its such a loss to motorsport,
    you forget just how dangerous racing can be until something tragic like this happens.

    RIP Dan

  57. I and several others were following the race together. We expected to see a thrilling conclusion to an excellent day’s racing – instead we witnessed an unfolding nightmare.

    In recent years there have been occasions when something has happened at a track that’s caused me to fear the worst: Felipe Massa at the Hungaroring in 2009, Ernesto Viso at Magny-Cours the year before, Robert Kubica at Montreal in 2007, Katherine Legge at Road America in 2006. On all those occasions fear gave way to relief as we learned the drivers had survived.

    But the scale of the devastation in this particular crash made it feel different from the beginning.

    You try to stay positive in the moments of uncertainty. But as the time passed with no updates on Wheldon’s condition, minutes became hours, and my fears grew – particularly when I read these messages from Tomas Scheckter who had been at the scene.

    It’s only natural that people want to offer explanations and theories on what happened and why and I’m sure I’ll get to that later.

    But right now this is all too raw, too horrible, too difficult to process. A fine racer and, by all accounts, a popular family man has gone. It’s bitterly upsetting and I can only echo the sympathy expressed by so many for Wheldon’s wife, two sons, the rest of his family and friends.

    1. RIP Dan so sad to watch that happen. reminds every time there is nothing like safe enough ….

    2. @keithcollantine well said. As I said on the live blog, thanks for giving us a place to share. Especially in a moment like that, it was nice to have others to share that difficult experience with.

      1. exactly this. Thanks @keithcollantine and again condolances to Wheldon’s family and friends.

    3. I didn’t watch the race live and the first I saw of Dan Wheldon’s death was on BBC News early this morning. Wheldon was competing at Las Vegas as the wildcard entry to win $5m (split between him and a fan), starting from the back of the field. When his picture flashed up my first thought was that he must have won it…

      I’ve been following various forms of motorsport for most of my life, including the British karting scene. In the late 1990s, there were only a few young karters you kept an eye out for when they came into car racing. Wheldon was one, the others included Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Anthony Davidson. I never met Dan Wheldon, although I briefly shared a house with a schoolfriend of his, but I remember him coming into Formula Ford and being instantly quick.

      Despite Dan’s speed, for one reason or another he didn’t quite manage to crack Formula Ford in the UK and move up to the next step (Formula Renault or F3) and instead opted to head over to the USA to compete in FF2000, eventually working his way up to the IRL (as it then was) where he was very successful.

      The accident that cost Dan his life was shocking – the number of cars, the amount of wreckage, the black smoke drifting across the track. It was like a scene from 40 years ago and stands as a reminder that we should be cavalier about safety. It will be remembered as one of the tragedies of motor racing that Dan was killed in the last race for the old Dallara chassis, before the new version (of which Dan led the development) was due to debut. Very sad.

      1. @timg I know you mean “should never be cavalier about safety”.

        1. I did indeed, thank you.

  58. Horrific news. I naively thought days like this were over.

    Devastated.

    RIP Dan Wheldon, all of our thoughts are with your memory and your family.

  59. That was the first “live” fatal accident I’ve witnessed, and I hope to never see one again. RIP, Wheldon.

  60. I dont think any superlatives can really express what a shock and tragedy this is, its just heartbreaking.

  61. A death that didn’t need to happen. The IRL was founded on ovals. Indy, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Texas, Loudon, Nashville, etc etc. Driver have always driven wheel to wheel at 210+ mph. Unfortunately the merger with Champ car dissolved this. The drivers once knew how to race wheel to wheel are were very talented. Today though the drivers are simply not as good. You have 8-9 drivers at the most that can do this on ovals. The rest, like JR Hildabrand, EJ Viso, Takuma Sato, james hindcliff, etc etc. have been thrown to the wolves. Road racers have their hands full because they’ve never raced at this speed side by side constantly.

    Las Vegas is not Indy, where’s there is one racing line and the field is sprung out. It’s not like Nashville or Kentucky for where the drivers run slower speeds with the surface and sharper turns. And Las Vegas is certainly not flat. It was ludicrous to even allow 34 cars on a track designed for 3600 lbs stock cars. As I said to someone else, this could mark the end of the IRL. The executive decisions have been downright terrible and dangerous. Take a look at what happened at Sau Paulo and New Hampshire. Look at how these drivers acted at the road course of Edmonton. The drivers are just not good enough for these race cars to be run at a track like Las Vegas. Shame on the IRL for this, this should have never of happened.

    RIP Dan Wheldon. He was one of my favorites.

    1. This probably isn’t the time for it but I’ve had the same thing in my head when watching Indy before. The quality of drivers leaves a lot to be desired for whats supposed to be a top class open wheel series.

      1. A shame really, considering there are some great drivers in the IRL.

        I just want to add that I am not blaming anyone for Dan Wheldon’s unfortunate death. I know in any racing series something like this can happen at any time. I just think this race should have never taken place at this particular race track.

  62. This is the sixth motorsport death I have witnessed live. The experience does not get easier with repetition.

    A few days after Wheldon clinched the 2005 championship he did an appearance on the Lettermen show. I thought he seemed smart, personable, and funny and have been a fan of his ever since.

    A great gift and a great loss. Many souls departed Earth for Heaven today. I’d bet Dan got there 1st.

  63. I can’t even find words.

    I’m stunned.

    When you’ve been looking up to racing drivers as if they are gods since the age of three, to know that a driver has been killed on track makes it impossible to conceal the emotions.

    Dan Wheldon died doing what he loved and what he did best. He’s possibly the most underrated British racing driver of this generation. He will be missed by IndyCar, motor racing in general, but most importantly by his family and everyone who knew him.

    I hope Power, Hildebrand and Mann get well soon too.

  64. Rest in peace, Dan Wheldon.

    This is the first time I’ve ever commented on F1Fanatic with tears streaming down my cheeks and I hope it’s the last. I feel like I should say something deep and meaningful, but I’m not the best with words. All I am going to say is this:

    I am not an IndyCar fan. I have only heard of Dan Wheldon, but I wasn’t sure which category of motor racing I’d heard his name mentioned in. But I am a motor racing fan and this is the very thing that we all dread. I’ve never seen a driver die live and that didn’t change today as I was fast asleep. But to everyone that did witness it, I am so deeply sorry. You have my utmost respect for handling yourselves in the way that you did.

    Finally, my thoughts are with Dan Wheldon’s family and friends. I know it’s a cliche and it won’t make the pain go away, but we know very well that Dan died doing the thing he loved most. May he rest in peace.

  65. Terrible tragedy for Wheldon and his family.

    I can’t get past the terrible irony of IRL putting in Wheldon as kind of “rabbit” by putting the $5m bounty on him. He was also the “on-track reporter,” meant to give mid-race commentary as he drove. His task was to keep people from switching to a football game should somehting happen to Power’s race, such that the title was decided early in the race. This rare free-to-air ABC broadcaset, the title fight, and the Wheldon bounty, were supposed to guarantee a fresh buzz for IRL. Now IRL has all the publicity it could want but of the very worse kind.

    There is plenty of time to debate whether the race/track/cars/drivers are safe enough. I have to say that in 25 years of watching motorsport I have never seen such a sight. Half a dozen cars flying into the fence engulfed in flames, many others totally destroyed. Several cars still infernos after they come to a stop. Will Power survied launching over the back of another car at 220mph, tumbling upside down, and then straight into a steel wire fence, and then being barbecued in a massive fireball. IRL of course sells this “close” “racing” as part of the appeal. They sell the danger. But when you have a situation where any one of the little misjudgements we have seen in the last F1 race could result in a plane-crash scene, rather than a puncture or a two-car wreck, maybe you have gone over the line from sport to blood-sport.

    1. He was also the “on-track reporter,” meant to give mid-race commentary as he drove.

      Is that true? My god, that makes me very angry.

      This is a tragic, unnecessary waste of life, and doubts must rightly be again cast onto the safety record of Indycar. This is, what, seven fatalities since F1’s darkest weekend in 1994, and surely that can’t be acceptable in this modern age. @DaveW, I think you’re right that Indy seems to have been edging towards a bloodsport mentality – it sounds like there’s been an air of desperation there in the dire aftermath of the economic crisis to chase those cheap thrills.

      My thoughts go out to Man’s wife and two sons :( the apparently safer 2012 Indy car design can’t come soon enough.

      1. Yes. And on the warm up lap, he gave an interview to the booth from the car, talking about his chances, etc. So on the broadcast, we heard last from him among the drivers before the cars took the flag. That really shook me. I guess the piont of this feature is personalize a driver and give a real in-race perspective for the viewers. Horrible horrible irony.

        I’m so sad for his kids. As a parent, I iknow it’s one of the two things you can’t even make yourself really think about without breaking down— leaving your young child without a father.

        I hope you ar right and that his legacy is bound with a substantial improvement in safety. I hope it does not stand for what could be a fundamental threat to the existence of this series.

  66. I saw this image of the wider accident (there’s nothing graphic, but it may be disturbing to some). With all the fire, smoke and bits of racing car going every which way, Las Vegas looks less like a racing circuit and more like a war zone. Fortunately, the other drivers injured in the crash – Will Power, JR Hildebrand and Pippa Mann – should be okay. Power has been released from hospital; Mann and Hildebrand will be kept overnight

    1. I believe the car in the air was Will Power’s.

      1. That makes sense. Power was admitted to hospital with lower back pains. And if Vitaly Petrov has taught us anything, it’s that what goes up hurts like hell when it comes back down. Power was lucky that he only had some pain in his lower back.

      2. Sadly there were two cars in the air… absolutely horrible crash. These days we’re used to having people survive really heavy crashes all the the time, but that was so bad I am just surprised it was only one who died.

        RIP Dan.

  67. I just cannot believe my eyes! I never thought that we will see any death due to motorracing in the modern era due to the safety it has.One thing I can’t understand as I often see in INDY that whenever a bad crash happens we see fuel fire,I can’t remember when is the last time that happened in F1,aren’t they should have the same safety standard?

  68. i don’t have much to say, i’m speechless.. this is such a horrible moment

    RIP Dan Wheldon, You were a fantastic driver, and a great person. You will be missed

    1. That’s all you need to say. It’s too sad and really, there are no words for moments like this.

  69. It’s disappointing to see that the power brokers of motor racing are still putting money ahead of people’s lives. Like in San Remo 1994, there were some drivers, including Senna, that proclaimed the track was dangerous – just like today in Las Vegas, but yet none of the power brokers listened. This sort of behaviour is distressing and I hope legal proceedings occur to put some of these people accountable for these sorts of decisions.

    I once worked for a mining company and you constantly hear about near-misses, incidents and fatalities. Mining companies work tirelessly in improving safety and the Australian government won’t hesitate to close an operation down if it wasn’t deemed to be safe. Nevertheless, in my 3 years at the company I came across 3 fatalities – lightening strike, and 2 rolled vehicles where both drivers were distracted.

    It’s always distressing to hear that someone lost their life at work, and in Dan’s case, he also enjoyed what he did. It’s even more distressing to realise it could’ve been prevented if the organisers listened to the drivers.

    RIP Dan, my thoughts are with you and your family.

  70. i think the real problem here is the safety of the track itself now, the cars are as close to safe as they can be and now the focus needs to shift to how to make the tracks themselves safer.

    1. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is unique in that it has some rather extreme banking – twenty degrees, second only to Texas Motor Speedway (which has twenty-four degree banking). By comparison, Kansas Speedway has fifteen degrees of banking, and Indianapolis has twelve.

      Furthermore, LVMS is classified as a tri-oval. It’s specifically designed to allow cars to reach high speeds by easing the corners. The effect of this is amplified by the banking, which decreases the lateral G-forces on the drivers, and lets the teams run less downforce, allowing them to go faster through the corners.

      The question that really needs to be asked here is what role, if any, the $5 million bounty on the race played in causing the pile-up. The orgnisers offered an additional prize to any part-time driver who could win the race. Dan Wheldon was one of those entires, and I believe there were several more – Las Vegas had a grid of over thirty cars. I don’t believe they all got greedy and tried to win the race straight away, though Dario Franchitti reflected that he felt a little nervous after five laps because other drivers were doing “crazy” things. A lot of the drivers in the race were inexperienced; even those who were doing a full season, because more than half the races this year were on road courses (and even more will be run next year).

      1. Prisoner Monkeys, the 5 million dollar prize played no role. The crash wasn’t caused by part-timers, nor was Wheldon at fault. Basically, many of the Indycar drivers do “crazy” things at every oval (and street course) race. Banging wheels and so on. This just happened to be a really dangerous track that they shouldn’t have been racing on, unless they raced extremely carefully.

  71. The eyes of Scottland are crying today. Dan “77” was and will always be a champion. The Indy car world will miss him, for sure.

  72. I felt I had to spend more time with my kids tonight, because Dan can’t.

    When I was a kid, drivers had this fearless exuberance and dashing way of ignoring the dangers of the sport. It was part of the glamour, somehow, maybe echoing wartime heroism. Before my time, seat belts were thought of as a weakness as were parachutes by WWI aviators. Such foolishness has long since gone and this tragedy must become an incentive to redouble safety efforts and protect our heroes.

    Condolences to the Wheldons. Good luck to those who seek to increase safety.

  73. Something we never want to see happen. I hope no one needs to ever write those words in a live blog again.

    While now is a time of mourning I think it is still fair to point out that there is something clearly wrong as this should not have happened. I would hope that IndyCar can achieve a level of safety comparable to F1 where a death had not occured in over 15 years.

    1. Thats whats so hard to believe. Why did this have to happen in the last ever race of the old car design. The danger of launching cars is well known in all open wheel racing, it has always been there. Indycar go and design a 2012 car hoping to remove that danger and improve safty. And then this happens to the very guy that had been testing the new car. Its so unbelieveably cruel.

      Dan testing the 2012 Indy car
      http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/09pqfJGcXIgjs/439x.jpg

    2. And this part of his interview with Letterman earlier this year. It hurts me so much when you hear Letterman talk about “Unpleasant things” (launchings) and Dan’s reply. :-(

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToKHtVtG59A&feature=player_detailpage#t=300s

      1. wow, that is … eerie and sad.

    3. No doubt F1 is safer. But lets not kid ourselves. This could happen in any form or motor racing.

  74. Very sad. A great talent whose life was tragically cut short in a horrific way.

    Rest in peace.

  75. A sad day for motor sport in general. However, this is why we respect drivers so much: they know what they have to face every day when they race, and that is the possibility that they might die on track. This sport is for the fearless, and the danger of facing death is there all the time. That’s why they become legends, they are admired. The expression “Pushing for the limit” also means pushing close to the “edge”- that edge is their lives.

    Dan Wheldon is a legend, a Champion, and will be remembered as such. He is survived by his wife and his 2 beautiful children. Some of us live humble, anonymous lives, far away from living on the edge and putting our lives at risk for pure competition glory and for the entertainment of others. We probably end up living long, boring lives but these guys, they live it to the fullest. They get my respect and admiration for it.

    Dan Wheldon rose above others and won one of motor sport’s most legendary races. For it, he is now part of motor sport history, and a legend that will be remembered. R.I.P.

  76. Sad day in Motorsport. RIP Dan Wheldon.

  77. All we can hope for now is that it was painless and Dan didn’t suffer and hope that as part of Dan’s legacy all the testing he did on the new car this never happen again

  78. My experience at the 500 this year feels all the more poignant now. Strangely, I wasn’t watching tonight. So when I came home and saw a friend posting a memorial picture on facebook, I was shocked and then gutted. We all know these black days will happen no matter how safe we try to make racing. But it doesn’t make them any less hard to swallow. You will be missed, Dan. You were a great driver and a wonderful personality in the booth.

  79. The safety of the cars themselves is way off. They should not burst into flames for one thing

  80. Terribly sad news, RIP Dan Wheldon.

  81. I’m looking at the pictures of the accident, of the replays and the on-borad footage; not out of morbid curiosity, but because I’m trying to understand why this happened, why someone like Wheldon had to be taken from us, and why I’m doused in this numbness for the loss of someone I never knew, someone I never followed, someone who I wouldn’t know from Job if I passed him in the street and it’s not making any sense to me! All I’m seeing is this quarter-mile of devastation, of burning fuel and tyre smoke, and all of it littered with pieces of what use to be racing cars, but is now little more than a tangled ruin of carbon fibre and steel and rubber, and there’s nothing, nothing that can explain it all. I’m trying to quantify it, trying to find a way to say “this is why the accident happened”, but there is no reason to it, no logic or order. There’s just chaos, and in the middle of it, there is a man who is never going to race again, who is never going to feel the sensation of sitting behind the wheel again, never going to stand on a podium again, and there is nothing to explain why it had to happen this way, or why it even happened at all. I’m at a complete loss to explain the way I feel simply because I don’t understand any of it. I can recount the events in the order that they happened, and I can explain how the car is designed to protect the driver, and I can tell you how all the hundred of tiny little factors wove themselves together to form this pattern of ugliness and how changing just one of them, even ever-so-slightly, would have changed all of them, but I cannot explain to you why Dan Wheldon is not coming back, and nobody will tell me why.

    1. Sadly there is no fitting answer to the question of why @prisoner-monkeys

      But I fully understand your need to look for just that answer in this terrible moment.

    2. @prisoner-monkeys I’m certain you, and everyone involved, will get their answer. The telemetry will piece it all together.

      I was so annoyed last night when I saw a clip @TommyB89 posted on Facebook. Why on Earth can these cars set on fire?

    3. Well, looking at the video, when they show the onboard of Dans car you can see the right front wheel coming in towards his head, just before it stops working. This is ofcourse just speculation, but if this would be what killed him it would be very sad. Another driver to get killed by debris to the head.

      That said, an explanation won’t make it any better. RIP Dan Wheldon.

      1. I think you’re looking at footage from Will Power’s onboard camera. The wire of his right front wheel prevents the tyre from hitting his head.

        1. Shows us how important wheel tethers are.

  82. Wow, that was horrific.

    I am so sick of American Open Wheelers not doing enough for driver safety. My last straw was the loss of life of Greg Moore a few years back. The terrible crash of Alex Zanardi as well was a tragedy for a talented driver. The number of drivers and spectators killed in Indy makes me sick.

  83. Racing is scary for the participants but we do it anyway. I’ve never felt more alive than when warmed up waiting for the off. I imagine I’m not alone valuing that rush of adrenalin, the tight focus on the challange in front of me, the chance to exercise my skills & talents, the results of months of prep just to get to the start, the quest for the best performance possible, & a lot of other things not thought of til later.

    Though I never knew him, he was me. Doing what he loved! My condolenceces to Dan, his wife & kids, the other drivers in the accident, all the drivers & crews, & all the racing community everywhere.
    The racing world is not quite as bright as it was before his light was cruelly doused. R.I.P. Dan God bless us all. And hope we will do our chosen job to the best of our ability.

    Gonna miss you Dan Wheldon.

    rafe03

  84. Very sad news , RIP Dan

  85. RIP.
    Although hè died doing what hè loved most, nobody should die so young

  86. Racing is safer than it was, but it will never be safe. Any time a driver in any classification of motorsports gets behind the wheel, this result is a possibility.

    It’s because racing has become so safe that an incident like this one is so shocking. When you look hard and fast at it, we’re probably lucky that “only” one man was killed.

    But it doesn’t make it easier. As the commentator at the end of the broadcast put it: “Goodbye, Dan.”

  87. May he rest in peace :(

  88. Just seen the news now, and the very short clip of the aftermath I’ve seen looks like the absolute worst case scenario for this type of racing. I don’t get to watch Indy and I’m glad I wasn’t watching that live. I really hope the sport acknowledges this tragedy in the right way and makes a real effort to improve safety even further.

    These days complacency can set in so easily. Running open-wheel cars at 230+mph speeds in a concrete lined oval is about the most dangerous way of motor racing I can think of, but I wouldn’t for a second want to stop those guys and girls who get in the cars from doing it. They are absolute heros, and days like this remind me of that. I really feel for Dan Wheldon’s family and friends today.

  89. Absolutely appalling news. I didn’t see the race and was in shock when I saw the news (and a picture of the incident). Dan was a real favourite of mine in the Indycar series and my thoughts are with his family and friends.

  90. I was so very close to watching this last night but I had other plans.

    RIP Dan Wheldon.

  91. Now, I don’t (or never will) watch IndyCar, but having read up about his year’s Indy 500, I have (at least a small) understanding on how popular Dan Wheldon was, I would just like to add my name to the long list of people paying tribute to a great racer.

  92. I saw him win at Indy and I was like man he still got it, just needs a good ride. Saw him do TV and he had a knack for it. Met him once at an autograph sesison in CA. Then saw the crash live and heard the news, I was not a huge fan but man I teared up. This just sucks.

  93. I watched events unfold last night. Horrible stuff.

    Questions need to be asked and will be asked about the circumstances leading to Dan Wheldon’s death, and I hope we get some satisfactory answers. But for the avoidance of doubt, it’s there on every ticket – motorsport is dangerous. We all knew that sitting at home, and Dan knew it too.

    You can slow the cars, build them safer, make the tracks safer too, but there will always be some circumstances where a human body is put into a situation it just can’t withstand. The words that remain with me, from Randy Bernard’s brief statement last night, are “unsurvivable injuries.” At least, from this desperately sad occasion, we can learn of ways to reduce the possibility of those circumstances occurring.

    But before all that, let’s pay tribute to a great racer and a great ambassador for motorsport. RIP Dan.

  94. I’m kind of glad I forgot to watch the race now, though I saw the accident on the news last night. I don’t really know what else to say at the moment, other than R.I.P Dan Wheldon.

  95. Just woke up to the news. Such a tragedy may he Rest in Peace.
    Thoughts go out to his young family.

  96. Terrible news. Dan was one of my favourite drivers. I wasn’t watching it live last night. As with all the Indycar races, I end up watching the highlights.
    My thoughts are with his family. May his children grow up proud that their father was an all time great racing driver. R.I.P. Dan.

  97. UNeedAFinn2Win
    17th October 2011, 8:52

    Sad day in motorsports

    RIP Dan Wheldon

  98. Sad day. I hope Indy Car learns from this.

  99. Terrible news to hear of Dans passing. Feel so sad for his wife and young children. Very sad day

  100. I dont watch Indycar regularly but have a passing interest but watching this brought me to tears

    http://www.gpupdate.net/en/videos/1509/drivers-five-lap-salute-to-dan-wheldon/

    Its amazing how tragedies like this bring all motorsports together. RIP Dan.

  101. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzaFPX5qaVk

    I’ve had this on loop for a few hours.

  102. Following on from the death of Senna, F1 has done everything possible to make the sport safer and some of the crashes that people have walked away from have been incredible.

    Sadly, Indycar hasn’t done the same. Since Senna’s death, between Indycar and CART, we’ve lost Jeff Krosnoff, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Greg Moore, Scott Brayton, Tony Renna, Paul Dana and now Dan Wheldon.

    I know there is a new car next season which will hopefully improve safety but the fact remains that oval racing is dangerous in its current form. Cars get up into the catchment fencing and are torn to shreds – this has to stop.

    They have a poor history of doing so but hopefully everyone involved with Indycar will wake up and realise that actions has to be taken to prevent these sorts of incidents and if it means changing the tracks, stopping oval racing or improving safety (ie replacing the catchment fencing with something else), something has to be done.

    All of our thought are with Dan’s family at this horrible time – I hope his legacy can be improved safety and lives safed in the future.

    1. pete- your list of deaths since 1994 is sobering…

      Speaking to this instance only, racing open wheel cars on high banking is suicidal. Back in the days of USAC and CART- the real Indycar, some would say- they stayed well away from tracks like this. And the danger is compounded when a fair number of participating drivers have little experience on any ovals.

      RIP Dan.

    2. Flying Lobster 27
      17th October 2011, 14:57

      I’ve had some thought, and two things have seemed to be most important factors in the crash. Won’t go into whether or not they should have raced at Vegas; but 1. those cars took off dangerously on contact, and this has been happening for years (Bräck I believe, Franchitti twice in 2007, and at least two cars yesterday had frightening flights – Power’s onboard view may be the scariest racing footage I’ve ever seen), and 2. while the concrete walls are safe enough, the fencing can tear a car down to nothing (Krosnoff, Conway last year and Wheldon).

      Both factors were already combined in the last lap of the 2010 Indy 500, in which Mike Conway hit Ryan Hunter-Reay and flew into the fence. Conway survived, but was injured and was racing yesterday. The more I think of that accident, the more it sounded in retrospect like a warning.

      Watching it live was painful, and many times I had a thought for Franchitti, Tracy (whose interview over an hour before the announcement of Wheldon’s death was both not reassuring and spot-on regarding how drivers deal with this sort of circumstance), Kanaan, Michael Andretti, Castroneves and others I may have forgotten to mention, who were racing in California while Greg Moore died, and who also witnessed Zanardi’s accident.

    3. I had no idea so many Indy drivers had lost their lives in recent years. That just isn’t acceptable at all.

  103. RIP Dan Wheldon!

  104. This is such awful news. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time, and of course with the other drivers who were injured in this terrible crash. My only hope is that something good can come out of this – increased safety standards for other drivers, so that we don’t see this happen again.

  105. yeah, that’s really sad..:(

  106. I was watching this live last night and following it on twitter. All I can say is that I have never felt like that while watching a motor race (I was too young for Imola) and hope to never feel like that again.

    I will spare you the graphic imagery of what I went through, as it is not at all pleasant, but I can only imagine the sheer pain and sense of loss coursing through the Wheldon family, Dan’s friends, and everyone who knew him. My heartfelt sympathies to all of them. :'(

    My thoughts also go out to both commentary crews, on ABC and Sky Sports, because the way they carried on in such terrible circumstances was, to me, completely amazing.

    But above all of course, my thoughts are with Dan. I may only have been watching Indycar for a very short period, but I could always see how well liked he was, how tough a racer he was, and seemingly, what a great person he was by all accounts.

    Rest In Peace Dan. Gone too soon, but never forgotten.

    Nathan

  107. Still sad today after watching this unfold last night. Johnny Mowlem struggling to hold it together on Sky Sports and breaking down was difficult to watch.

    Horrible crash caused by too many cars on too fast a track, time to stop open wheel racing on ovals, it’s insanity.

  108. themagicofspeed (@)
    17th October 2011, 12:49

    Rest In Peace Dan, and god bless you and your family.

    What makes his loss all the more painful, is that his young sons, aged 2 and 0, have had their father taken from them in such an awful way. It’s gut wrenching. I feel for his family.

    It makes you wonder, why do we do this sport, is it really all worth it, the pain and suffering of families when things like this happen.. It’s really made me think, don’t know about anyone else.

  109. Wow. I thought we were past all this guys. Looked like a great driver and a great man. Guttering to see a human being with the same passion to motorsport as me taken away. Tragic.. Rest in Peace mate
    America, I think you have some catching up to do

  110. Oh no! :(
    I heared yesterday about the crash, without much details. It’s so unfair, I remember him when he won the Indy 500 this year.
    It has ruined my day : I will feel sad the whole day I think :(

  111. Absolutely terrible news. The fact that we live in an era when fatalities caused by motorsport are a rarity makes it all the more shocking.

    I hope the organizers learn from this though: clearly the catch fences are a problem, and the simple fact is that the barriers on these oval circuits deflect crashed cars back into the path of oncoming cars, resulting in these huge pileups. This is simply ridiculous and flies in the face of attempts to improve safety.

    It’s also sad that Dan was a very successful British sportsman, yet it’s likely that this is the first that many have heard of him.

  112. Bad luck Dan Wheldon – it’s a crying shame this is the first time most people in the UK will hear your name. One of our greatest motorsports talents – just not sat in an F1 car.

    I’m surprised people are so shocked that drivers (and others) can lose their lives participating in this sport. You do anything at 200mph+ of course there is a risk of death or severe injury. The risk is part of motorsport. It is inevitable at some point or another and in any category and it will happen again, even in the apparently invincible F1.

    Apart from the rare talent to drive these things fast all the time why are the potential rewards so great? Because the risks are so high.

    No one forces these guys to get in their race cars. They do it ‘cos they love it, they are fully aware of the risks and of the rewards. There’s only so much you can do in risk mitigation when putting 20 to 30 cars in a relatively small space and ask them to beat each other. Let’s not have knee-jerks calling for the banning of racing. Let consenting individuals make up their minds whether they want to risk it or not.

    1. Everyone knows that motorsport is dangerous… No-one would try and deny that and you are spot-on that driving anything at 200+ mph means you are risking your life however where possible, measures should be taken to reduce this risk.

      In F1, people can still get hurt (Massa for example could have died if he had been even more unlucky) however with the new safety measures across tracks, cars and equipment over the past decade, people have walked away from accidents that would have killed people in recent times.

      Motorsport is dangerous and drivers know what risks they are taking however there is still a duty to reduce those risks wherever possible

  113. when i think these guys get one fraction of what F1 guys get,and racing at 220mph near a brick wall,that is what i call real racing.unlike the computer programmers behind an F1 wheel.
    RIP DAN

    1. I think you’ll find they get as much as if not more than F1 drivers. It’s big money for the top guys.
      I also don’t think you can compare danger levels in such a way. If that were the case then TT riders should be the highest paid on the planet. They sure as hell have the biggest balls.

  114. Very tragic news

    RIP Dan Wheldon

  115. Sad, sad news.

  116. RIP Dan. ‘Let the wind carry you home’

  117. I don’t think it is fair to compare F1 and Indycar by saying that Indycar’s themselves are less safe than F1 machines. The fact is, if Dan had been driving an F1 car a Las Vegas he probably still would have been killed. It is the nature of the circuits Indycar go to that makes this sport very dangerous indeed.
    I remember watching the Texas race earlier this year and the speeds they were doing made F1 cars look like they run in slow motion, I was shocked at the speeds and the close proximity the cars were running in relation to one another. I remember thinking, I hope no one loses it, it was hard to watch at times. However cold hearted it looks now after poor Wheldon’s death, racing such as we saw at Texas and other fast circuits draws in the crowds. The bottom line is that racing is a business, not a hobby, and I believe Indycar crossed the line yesterday and put profits before safety.
    One has to remember that Indycar is in direct competition with NASCAR, and that competition is a fierce one. Indycar has already lost one of its most bankable stars, Danica Patrick, to NASCAR. This during a period in which open wheel racing in America has started to make inroads into NASCAR’s dominance.
    Dan Wheldon was one of the crop of drivers who, over the last nine years, has helped turn the sport around and make it more marketable. When you lose a high profile driver like that, as F1 did with Senna in 1994, the sport has to look at itself and the direction it is going in. In the IRL’s quest to take on NASCAR and offer a ‘spectacle’ to the American masses, it has forgotten the primary rule in racing. Driver safety!

  118. Extremely gutted as soon as i heard it.Despite not being a fan of Indycar, i really really despise when Racing Drivers are fighting for their lives because they’re doing the job that they love.Racing their hearts & souls out,Shows you how harsh life is.

    RIP Dan Wheldon!!

  119. I was at the track watching with my daughter. I commented several times to her about how hard they were running, going 3 wide around the whole track. When the accident happened, you just knew it wasn’t good. Not something I ever wanted to see, and I feel awful that I had my daughter with me and she had to see it. I’m still stunned and in shock. RIP Dan, we all loved you over here.

    1. Woah, I hope she won’t sleep bad from it.

      I was really glad they called the rest of the race off. And those 5 laps in tribute, with almost the complete crowd standing up brought tears to my eyes.

  120. Such sad news this morning, I was numb when I heard on the radio and really moved when I read about the 5 lap salute. RIP Dan.

  121. Trenthamfolk (@)
    17th October 2011, 20:21

    I hope motorsport learns form this experience and moves on in a positive light, then his tragic death won’t be in vain. RIP Dan…

  122. RIP Dan, a gent who will be sorely missed.

    I find Kahlil the only thing that makes sense in times like now.

    Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
    Is the sheered not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
    Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
    For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
    And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
    Only when you drink form the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
    And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
    And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

  123. it’s sad. But every driver knows what can happen, and still go for it, because they love doing it.
    I love the sport, because drivers do things i am unable to do. They are brave enough to put theirs lives on the line. And i don’t want it to be any other way. Even if, once in a while a price has to be paid.
    Rip Dan Wheldon.

    1. I’m not sure Dan’s family would share your sentiments.

      Drivers will always take risks. But the people in charge have a responsibility to make sure those risks are not unnecessarily high.

  124. themagicofspeed (@)
    17th October 2011, 20:58

    In his memory the world of motorsport must learn from this, and even if it means Indycar is banned the safety must be improved. This must NEVER happen again. Out of respect for him, IndyCar should stop, stop racing completely, until it can be certain that it has done everything possible, regardless of cost or difficulty, to help prevent fatal accidents. Motor Racing will never be completely safe but F1 has proved that if you take NO chances it can be as safe as possible. If they can’t do that, then in my opinion, this should be the end. It is not fair that this has had to happen, somebody has had to die yet again to make safety a priority. As a sport and a community we are in the same position as we were in 1994 with the death of the great man Ayrton. If the safety improvements had not been made, certain EU countries were prepared to ban motorsports in their countries, and rightfully so. American racing needs to wake up and get real, get tough on safety, and bring the speeds of those cars down.

  125. 24 hours on and it still doesn’t seem real, I remember Senna but was too young to really comprehend it all. Remember watching live on tv when Greg Moore was killed which was very difficult.

    This is a massive loss to Britain and the greater motorsport community.
    Before I make my point its only right to pay tribute to Dan Wheldon as one of the greatest driving exports this country has ever produced.
    2 Indy 500 wins and an Indy title in the space of 6 years puts Dan right up there with any of the British motor racing legends.

    The hardest thing about it all is that sinking feeling that it could have been avoided if it hadn’t been for a series of questionable decisions.
    Firstly to think that they were even going to let rally drivers, x games drivers etc into the race is almost scary in itself. But the decision to allow a 34 car entry was irresponsible at best and a possible case of gross negligence at worst.

    That it was allowed at Las Vegas, a Nascar track that had no place on the Indycar calender only makes it worse. It seems they have been fixated on creating restrictor plate-style Nascar racing despite the dangers being ten fold with open wheelers.

    One of the things that struck me was after only a few laps was that cars were already touching wheels and it made you fear the worst, had the crash happened half way through the race you could have maybe put it down to a racing accident but that it happened after only 12 laps showed that the cars clearly were not suited to racing there and it was only a matter of time.

    The other scary thing is that there could have so easily have been 2 or 3 drivers who lost their lives in the accident and it was only luck that prevented this.

    I’m not calling for resignations or anything like that, what Indycar needs right now is leadership but it also needs to hold its hands up and bring about some fundamental changes for the future.

    In my humble opinion the 1.5 mile ovals like Vegas, Texas, Iowa have no place in this form of racing. Places like Milwaukee and New Hampshire yes but Indycar cannot take these any more unnecessary risks with where they race.
    I’d be amazed and appalled in equal measure if they return to Vegas next year. The championship needs to build its future on road courses, street tracks, short ovals and of course the Indy 500.

    I found last nights viewing the most difficult of my 20 years of watching motorsports and although you can never make racing completely safe lets hope we never see a multiple car crash the likes of that ever again.

    It all seems so cruel on Dan Wheldon of course his family, it will take a long time for everyone for it to sink in.
    RIP DW

  126. It might seem weird but Imola 94 didnt fully sink in till I watched Wendlingers crash at Monaco, it was then I thought I cant watch this anymore. I didnt watch a race till Suzaka 96. I`am sure Indy wont suffer its Wendlinger moment?

  127. I have not been able to think of anything else today, for some reason this one has hit me harder than any other motor sport fatality I have seen. It is such a complete tragedy.

    I was 13 when Senna died, so the full realisation of what happened did not come immediately. Since then I too remember amongst others Greg Moore, Jeff Krosnoff, Daijiro Kato.

    Last night brought back that same awful, hollow feeling of shock from the images of the crash, the creeping dread that things were not going to be ok during the red flag period and the affect it clearly had on the guys in the Sky Sports studio when they said they knew 45mins before they were able to say anything on air, what a horrible thing to have to deal with.

    I’m so sorry for his friends and family, because as I think they are paying the real price for his loss yesterday. IndyCar needs to finally learn from this, I hope this is not the end.

    RIP Dan. You will be missed.

  128. If anything like this happened in F1, I wouldn’t watch another race.

    I was only 8 when Senna died — too young to understand anything of what was going on, particularly how trivial motor racing is in the great scheme of things, and how awful it is when someone dies because an audience wanted entertainment.

    I can only watch F1 on the presumption that it doesn’t kill people any more. And I’m sure that Bernie and the FIA know full well that putting safety first is not just the right thing to do — it’s also central to their business model.

    This is 2011. One fatality and the BBC would run a mile, and so would most of the viewers.

    It sounds like IndyCar now needs to take a similar approach.

  129. Horrible crash. I would hate to think that it takes a death to look at why run indy cars on ovals. Drop the Ovals Indycar.

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