Sunday, October 16, 2011

RIP Dan Wheldon

He passed doing what he loved. Thoughts and prayers are with his wife Susie, children Sebastian and Oliver and the entire Wheldon family.

We've lost a great one.

RIP Dan Wheldon....

Update: Statement from Wheldon's wife Susie:

"Although the last few days have been unbearable for our family, the overwhelming love and support we have received are rays of sunshine during these dark days. The outpouring of sympathy and condolences has been so comforting, and I want to thank everyone for their kind notes, letters, gifts and flowers.

"Dan touched the lives of many people, and I would like to invite those citizens in our community who knew and loved my husband to attend his funeral service at the First Presbyterian Church of St. Petersburg on Saturday, October 22, at 10 a.m.

"Though we won't be able to fit everyone inside, I know that Dan would have wanted the community to share in the celebration of his life and to grieve his passing. Thank you again. I am forever grateful for your kindness."

-Susie Wheldon

Wheldon's funeral will be held at 10am est on Saturday, October 22nd at First Presbyterian Church of St. Petersburg, 701 Beach Drive N.E. in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Letters, notes, and cards can be sent to:

The Wheldons
9600 Koger Blvd N, Ste. 105
St Petersburg, FL 33702

Update: A public memorial will be held Sunday, October 23rd at Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis to celebrate the life of the 2-time Indianapolis 500 winner.

Speakers will include:

Jeff Belskus, IMS Corp president & CEO
Randy Bernard, INDYCAR CEO
Dario Franchitti, Former teammate
Bryan Herta, Former Teammate & car owner
Tony Kanaan, Former Teammate
Bob Hills, INDYCAR Ministry director & chaplain
Mike Hull, TCGR managing director
Mike Kitchel, Pather Racing communication director
Mickey Ryan, GP Sports Management client manager
Adrian Sussman, GP Sports Management client manager

Memorial schedule via IMS release:

1:30 p.m.: Doors to the Conseco Fieldhouse Indiana University Health Pavilion will be open.

There will be two large banners in memory of Wheldon for fans to sign and leave brief messages. A large photograph of Wheldon will be on display, and guests are encouraged to use this location for placement of cards, notes and other mementos for the family. In lieu of flowers, guests are encouraged to make a donation to the Dan Wheldon Family Trust. Donation boxes will be set up in two locations for guests to leave contributions.

Seating in the arena will not be available at this time.

2:30 p.m.: General seating opens.

Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in arena non-floor seats for the general public.

Floor seats are reserved for family, special guests and the INDYCAR community. INDYCAR community members are encouraged to bring their hard card for identification. Seating for this group will be on a first-come, first-served basis on the floor of the arena from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Access to the floor will be available via the main concourse stairways through sections 3 thru 17.

All seating in and entrance to the arena is subject to availability.

3:30 p.m.: Music, including the Indianapolis Children's Choir and video presentation begins.

4-5 p.m.: A Celebration of the Life of Dan Wheldon

In lieu of flowers, friends and fans also can choose to make a donation to the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund or the Alzheimer's Association, a cause close to his heart.

  Contributions to the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund can be made at and Indianapolis Fifth Third Bank where donations will be routed or sent directly to:

Fifth Third Private Bank
Attn: Dan Wheldon Family Trust
251 North Illinois St.
Suite 1000
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Around the paddock

“Everyone at Bryan Herta Autosport is reeling from the loss of our friend and teammate Dan Wheldon. Dan was the glue that bound our little team together. It was his spark and belief in us that carried us all to Victory Lane at Indianapolis this year, and his legacy within the sport as a tremendous champion and competitor is unquestioned. But more than that, Dan became my little brother from our time together as teammates at AGR. I watched with pride as he developed from the brash young hotshot on the circuit to a man who was a great husband and father, ambassador, friend, champion and hero. Our thoughts and prayers are with Susie and the boys, and all of Dan’s family and fans who are trying to make sense of this terrible loss. We are all lucky and blessed to have had Dan Wheldon influence our lives, and his spirit lives on in each one of us. Godspeed my friend.” 
- Bryan Herta Autosport owner, Bryan Herta

“Dan Wheldon was a tremendous competitor, a great racer and an even better person. It was an honor to have him be a part of our team. All of us at Sam Schmidt Motorsports are deeply saddened by his passing. On behalf of everyone at Sam Schmidt Motorsports, our prayers go out to all of his family, especially his wife, Susie, and their two children.”
- Sam Schmidt

“As we struggle to process this devastating news, my heart and soul reach out to Dan's wife Susie, his two boys and the rest of his family. He was a true champion who had the unique quality of making everyone around him feel like a winner. Not only a hero, but also a great friend, we are honored to have counted Dan as part of the William Rast family. We will surely miss our friend and never forget what he gave to all of us.” 
- CEO, William Rast, Colin Dyne

GP Sports Management is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our dear friend and client, Dan Wheldon.

Dan was a winner. For the past 11 years we were privileged to watch Dan become a champion on the track and a devoted family man off it.  He loved the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was immensely proud to have his name etched twice on the Borg Warner trophy alongside some of the Indy 500 greats.

He touched so many people in racing and around the world with his warm smile, his charming personality and his genuine good nature.   Dan loved his fans and always took that extra bit of time to take a photo, to sign an autograph, to make some young kid smile at the racetrack.  Everyone wanted to be around Dan.  His passion and his enthusiasm for life was infectious.  We will all miss him...

A true champion of motorsport...

A proud brother to Austin, Ashley, Elliott and Holly...

A devoted son to Clive and Sue...

A loving husband to Susie...

A doting father to his boys, Sebastian and Oliver...

And our friend...

Rest in peace Dan...your memory will live with us forever.

We would like to thank everyone for all of the messages of condolences that we have received and right now our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Wheldon family.
- GP Sports Management

“Dan chose to be a good guy. He made parenting of his sons, Sebastian and Oliver his priority. Dan made us all better at our craft by pushing us to make him a better athlete. Dan has made us better people by modeling a courageous and kind life.”
- St. Vincent Sports Performance Executive Director, Ralph Reiff

"No words can describe my feelings as I reflect on my memories of Dan.  His infectious smile, bubbly personality and big heart made Dan one of the most caring people I had ever met. You could never ask for a better ambassador to a sport. Dan represented INDYCAR with the upmost respect and integrity.  Dan will not only be immortalized as being a great racer but also a wonderful person.  My prayers are with Susie and his two children in this very difficult time."
- INDYCAR CEO, Randy Bernard

“We lost a good friend.  Everybody in IndyCar Series considered Dan a friend. He was one of those special, special people from the first moment he showed up in IndyCar. And he was kind of the brash, but he was a charmer. Then he became this loving family guy who was still charming, but he had this whole new side to him. I'm just thinking of Susie and the boys. When I think about them I'm struggling to hold it together.”
- Dario Franchitti

“Dan is family and I will miss him badly. Such an amazing person and wonderful family man. We will be with Susie, Sebastian and Oliver for whatever they need. I still can't believe it." 
- Scott Dixon

"My heart goes out to the Wheldon family. Dan was an incredible champion, a great friend and someone I will always respect and admire. We have truly lost one of the greatest members of our INDYCAR family." 
- Graham Rahal 

"We lost a special member of our INDYCAR family. Dan was doing exactly what he wanted and died doing what he loved. Our thoughts are with his wife, Susie, and his two children. There are much bigger plans in life than we can ever hope to understand. Dan will be forever missed."
- Charlie Kimball

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dan Wheldon's family - what happened today was terrible. It is hard to put into words how sad this is for all us of here. On the track we compete but at the end of the day we are like a big family and today we lost a part of that. I think that the series made a good call to end the race and have the parade laps to honor the life of our fellow driver."
- Helio Castroneves

"My thoughts are with Dan's family right now. He has been a good friend and a great competitor for many years and I'm greatly saddened by his loss. I do applaud the decision made by the series to call the race and line the cars up for a few parade laps in Dan's memory. It is truly a sad day for all of us." 
- Ryan Briscoe

"What a tragic loss. I'm devastated that we lost Dan Wheldon today. It was a terrible accident and I feel so bad for Dan's family. My thoughts and prayers are with them. Dan was great champion and a great guy. He will definitely be missed."
- Will Power

-“This is incredibly sad. We all know this is part of the sport.  Cars are getting safer, tracks are getting safer so fortunately it hasn’t happened in a long time.  We all had a bad feeling about this place in particular just because of the high banking and how easy it was to go flat and if you give us the opportunity, we are drivers and we try to go to the front -- we race each other hard because that’s what we do.  We knew if could happen but it’s just really sad.  There was no right or wrong thing to do really on how to proceed.  It’s the first time ever that we knew that a driver was gone so I think the series did the right thing.  Even if you were going to be more careful we were still going to be traveling at a very high speed and in a risky situation.  I think Randy’s call was rational.  He was saying ‘Listen, you guys are not thinking straight.’ If they had kept us in the car and we still had hope that Dan was going to be okay and they restarted the race sooner you can just focus on what you do.  This wasn’t the right way either to finish the race or the season; it feels wrong but there was no right way to deal with the situation.  I feel so bad for Susie and their kids.  It’s so tough to understand when somebody is gone that quickly.  Dan was always a very happy guy; he was always smiling.  He was a funny, great person that touched a lot of people.  He will be missed.” 
Oriol Servia

“It’s a black day for the sport.  We came in here hoping for a good season-finale and ended up losing a very close friend and a very good racing driver.  I think Dan was coming into his second wind as a driver.  He had so much success early on and he was getting back into that.  It’s going to be hard next year to climb into the new cars every time knowing that if it wasn’t for Dan this thing wouldn’t be what it was.  He made such an impact on this sport and will even continue to now.  It’s proof that this is still a very dangerous sport.  As hard as we work on the safety side, these things are still very possible.  It’s tough to put into words what everybody is feeling.  There was no right answer on how to deal with this situation in terms of the rest of the race.  Deep down we all think Dan would have wanted us to race but out of respect for him we made a decision, right or wrong.  We’re going to have to regroup over the winter and head into the first race next year and race the whole year for Dan because all I said, the new car that we all are going to be blessed with the opportunity to race, a lot of that is as good as it is because of Dan.  My thoughts are with Susie and the kids.” 
- James Hinchcliffe

“We lost not only an amazing driver, we lost a great father, friend and a very honorable person.  It's very hard to believe this is possible and sometimes we forget how dangerous what we do is. But we will never forget how much he loved racing and the adrenaline this sport gave him. 

We will miss him incredibly for his unique smile, sense of being and how friendly he was to all, but we will never forget him in any sense of the word.May he rest in peace and may his family accept this great loss with cherish. We love you Dan.” 
- Sebastian Saavedra

"All of us here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are deeply saddened by the death of Dan Wheldon. He was a tremendous race car driver and a great representative for IndyCar racing. Our prayers are with Dan's family as well as the officials and sponsors of IndyCar." 
- President, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chris Powell

"We are incredibly saddened at the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great champion of the Indianapolis 500 and a wonderful ambassador for the race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of motorsports. Most importantly, he was a fantastic husband, father and man - a good friend to so many in this sport. His memory will live forever at the Speedway, both through the magnitude of his accomplishments on the track and his magnetism off the track. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his entire family, team and fans." 
- IMS Corp. President & CEO, Jeff Belskus

"This is a truly heartbreaking loss.  Dan Wheldon was a terrific driver and a great champion, but overall he was one of the most engaging, intelligent and colorful individuals in our sport.  We were fortunate to work with Dan as a regular promotional partner over the years.  We will miss his competitive drive on the track and his energy and sense of humor in the paddock."
- President & GM, Infineon Raceway, Steve Page

"On behalf of the entire staff at Texas Motor Speedway, our sincere condolences go out to Dan's wife Susie and their two young boys, Oliver and Sebastian. Dan was a tremendous race-car driver and even more tremendous as a person. I was fortunate to get to know Dan over the years with the series annually visiting Texas Motor Speedway and he always arrived with that infectious personality and charming wit. His outstanding skill in the cockpit and his personality and good nature out of it will be greatly missed by the entire IndyCar community."
- President, Texas Motor Speedway, Eddie Gossage

"On behalf of Barber Motorsports Park, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Dan Wheldon.  His willingness to help promote the event each year in Birmingham showed us what kind of an ambassador he was for the sport.  Dan's infectious personality will always be remembered and his smile will truly be missed at Barber Motorsports Park."
- VP of ZOOM Motorsports, Rick Humphey  

"We share the sorrow of the IZOD IndyCar Series and motorsports community on the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great friend to Kentucky Speedway and recently lent his personality to promoting this season’s 300-mile event at our track by participating in a Macy’s shopping spree with a youth. An exemplary person and competitor will be sorely missed."
- Kentucky Speedway GM, Mark Simendinger

"Along with everyone at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the entire racing community, I am saddened by this news. I offer my condolences to the Wheldon family, especially wife Susie and her two young sons.  I had the opportunity to spend time with Dan at promotional events and always came away impressed by his warmth and sincerity."
- Homestead-Miami Speedway President, Mathew Becherer

“On behalf of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach family, our hearts are saddened to hear the news of the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great representative of our sport and personified what the IZOD IndyCar Series is all about. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Susie, his children and family. He will be sorely missed.” 
- President & CEO, Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, Jim Michaelian

"It is with extreme sorrow that we have lost one of our champion drivers today. Dan was an Indy 500 champion and IndyCar Series champion with Andretti Autosport-and one of our closest competitors. Dan brought such enthusiasm and passion to the sport not often seen in motorsports. We will remember Dan's tremendous racing accomplishments with our team as well his infectious personality. We would like to express our deepest sympathy to Dan's family, racing team and friends today. Dan is one of IndyCar's greatest champions."
- Andretti Autosport

"The passing of Dan Wheldon today is a great shame. Dan was a great driver as evidenced by not only his Indianapolis 500 victories, but by his many wins and great performances in the race car. But he was much more than a great driver. He was a good guy, good family man and really seemed to have a bright future not only as a driver but as a television personality as well. We had spoken to him very recently about his prospects as a driver for 2012 with our team and he was very enthusiastic about his future. He will be missed."
- Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing owner, Bobby Rahal

"Today was a sad day for IndyCar and the IndyCar family. Dan was a champion, a wonderful young man and a terrific competitor. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Susie, his children and his entire family."
- Penske Racing owner, Roger Penske

"Panther would like to send its deepest condolences and respects to family and friends of Dan Wheldon, and more specifically to his wife Susie and their children Sebastian and Oliver. Dan is an IndyCar legend, a Champion, a friend, and one of the greatest ambassadors in the history of open-wheel racing and the Indianapolis 500.

Since making his IndyCar Series debut with Panther in 2002, and subsequently returning for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Dan was an unbelievable representative of our team and partners. The passion and commitment that Dan showed to Soldiers of the National Guard, and Cadets in its Youth ChalleNGe program, and fans of this sport, is what set him apart. In our experience we cannot recall one instance where Dan said no to an autograph request, bypassed a photo request, or left an appearance without assuranceseverybody there who wanted to meet him had done so.

He was a special talent, a better person, and had a positive impact in the lives of so many in the sport. While Dan’s on-track success speaks for itself, it’s the professionalism, humor and spirit he showed outside the racecar that set him a cut above the rest. He will be missed, but always remembered.
- Panther Racing

“I’ve known Dan since he first came to the USA and like a lot of other people I had a great connection with him.  Dan represented the true IndyCar driver spirit, always available and positive, he was a great talent, a great friend, and a great family man.  I would like to send my deepest condolences to his family. 

It’s hard to accept what happened yesterday, we all know it’s a dangerous sport but we need to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”
- Conquest Racing owner, Eric Bachelart

"Today was a very emotional day. We all lost a friend, and a true champion of the sport. It hurts deeply when something like this happens and our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family during this time."
- Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner, Dennis Reinbold

"Today was an extremely tragic day. There are no words to express our sorrow over the loss of Dan. He was a Champion and few loved the sport as much as him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Wheldon family."
- Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner, Robbie Buhl

"What can you say? He was such a big presence in our sport and quite a talent.  Today we lost a little bit of Indycar.  He raced here for us for three years, won six races and made many friends – the whole Chip Ganassi Racing organization mourns his passing.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Susie, the boys and the whole Wheldon family."
- Chip Ganassi Racing owner, Chip Ganassi

"The IndyCar community - drivers, teams, fans - arrived at the track today to compete and celebrate a championship. Instead, we lost one of the sport's best. Dan Wheldon was a champion on the track and a great ambassador for the sport. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dan's family.

It's in moments like this that you witness the strength of the IndyCar community. Even though we compete against each other week after week, it's like we've lost a member of our own family. We'll go forward into the 2012 season by reflecting on the great memories we have of Dan Wheldon." 
- HVM Racing owner, Keith Wiggins

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic and sudden death of Dan Wheldon, who drove for Target Chip Ganassi Racing from 2006 to 2008.  He was a special part of the Target family and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Dan’s family and friends."
- Gregg Steinhafel, Chariman, President and CEO, Target

"On behalf of everyone at the IZOD brand, our prayers and thoughts are with Dan Wheldon's family. We are very proud to have worked with Dan and consider him a true friend," said. "He was one of the best race car drivers in the world and a wonderful ambassador for the sport. Dan's love of racing was only surpassed by his love and dedication to his family. He will be missed by all."
- President PVH Corp, Allen Sirkin

"There are no words to express our sorrow over the loss of Dan Wheldon, a beloved member of the racing family.  We extend our deepest sympathies to Dan's wife and family. They are all in our thoughts." 
- CEO & Presidnet, Verizon Wireless Dan Mead

"We are very saddened by the tragic passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great champion both on and off the racetrack and he will be greatly missed. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family."
- President, ESPN & ABC Sports, George Bodenheimer

"For everyone in the Honda family, this is a day of tragedy and incalcuable loss. For us, Dan, was more than a driver, he was a member of the Honda family. But most of all, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, wife, Susie and two young sons. Dan had a passion for motorsports and a wonderful personality that made him a friend to everyone in the racing community. His talent and dedication were an inspiration to us all. We will miss him terrible, and everyone at Honda extends our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fans across the world."
- President, Honda Performance Development, Erik Berkman

 "The Firestone Racing team is deeply saddened by the death of Dan Wheldon.  We have very fond memories of celebrating with Dan at Indianapolis following his win this year, and he was a true champion."

"Recently, we had been working very closely with Dan on the development of the 2012 IndyCar. His passion for the sport was evident every day and he worked endlessly to do the best he could at everything he did.  We extend our sympathies to his family, to his team, and to his many friends and fans.  He was a talented competitor on the track who will be long remembered by all who had the privilege of working with and knowing him."
- Executive Director, Firestone Racing, Al Speyer


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