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Dan Wheldon: A tribute to a man of a certain caliber by Joseph Wolkin, staff reporter

33 year old England native, Dan Wheldon tragically lost his life on October 16th as he was involved in a fifteen car crash on lap twelve of the INDY Car Series season finale at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.Drivers such as Danica Patrick , Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti and most of the driver’s in the race were very sceptical about the event, knowing the speeds are very high at a track with a banking of 20 degrees in the corners according to which has information about most tracks available. Wheldon’s crash was probably the worst crash which has happened in motorsports overall in the 21st century where the safety innovation is a key to success in all racing series.

The crash started as Sebastian Saavedra was loose while racing three-wide at 225mph. Saavedra hit Wade Cunningham, causing chaos in a matter of seconds. Wheldon’s car went flying over an unknown car, causing his car to tumble across the track until hitting the fence head first. Simultaneously, Wheldon’s car went on fire, causing him to die at approximately 1:19 PM. as he was airlifted to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas according to ESPN reporter Jaime Little who was at the trauma center with Wheldon’s family.where he was officially announced dead two hours after the accident occurred. An autopsy completed on October 17th, revealed that Wheldon died from “blunt force trauma,” to the head as a result of hitting the fence.
“But I think if you asked everyone in this field how they would want to go, that’s the way. If I could choose I’d do the same. But right now I can’t describe the pain,” stated Wheldons’ former teammate and best friend, Tony Kanaan excerpted from an interview once the race was over on ABC across the globe.
NASCAR driver Robert Richardson stated the following: “It’s a real disappointment to lose such a great talent that Dan Wheldon had. He was a Husband, Father, and a helluva race car driver. But unfortunately in racing you have fatalities. It happens every day all around the world. But Indy cars are very dangerous and in my opinion they should not race on ovals. I would think Indy would make the cars safer for the drivers to some extent like NASCAR has done since 2001. Invent a capsule of some sort like in the boat racing so when the car explodes the drivers will be safe. Put a windshield in the car like a fighter jet would have and put tear offs on it for pit stops etc. The ideas for safer cars are endless. It’s up to Indy to do something about it ultimately. Fortunately in NASCAR, no one has been injured a great deal in ten years. I’ve tested out the black box a few times myself, and it’s no fun. But It is a sad loss for the Wheldon Family and the entire Indy Racing League. He will be missed,” as he shows great sympathy for the Wheldon family as a whole.
Wheldon had only raced twice in the season, one of the races being the Indianapolis 500 which he won miraculously as J.R. Hilldebrand wrecked going into the final turn on the final lap. The reaction throughout the garage was unbearable as no one had any words to describe what had just happened. The drivers agreed that the race would end by doing a five lap tribute going three-by-three with the remaining nineteen cars which were not involved in the wreck.
Dan Wheldon is survived by his wife Susie, and his two sons, two-year old Sebastian and six month old Oliver. Dan Wheldon was just 33 years old.
First IZOD INDY Car Series race in 2002 for Panther Racing finishing tenth at Chicago. Drove for Chip Ganassi from 2006 to 2008 where he finished second in points his first year with the team and fourth the other two seasons, capping off his career with the team with six wins.
Drove for Andretti-Green Racing from 2003-2005, winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 as well as his first and only career championship. His last race in 2008 was for Panther Racing where he drove the #4 National Guard Dallara.
Won nine race with Andretti-Green Racing until he moved to Ganassi. Finished runner-up in the Indianapolis 500 in 2009 and 2010 with Panther.
Had no full-time ride in 2011, but was able to drive for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Indianapolis 500 where he was able to win the race, his second “Brickyard victory.” Final race of his career, the IZOD INDY Car Series World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he was killed in Turn two.
Fourth on the all-time wins list in INDY Car Series history with 33 wins since his first race in 2002. Will now have the new style INDY Car Series chasis named after him in honor of his hard work consistently testing for Dallara.
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