On October, 16, 2011, the racing world lost a great driver. IndyCar veteran driver, Dan Wheldon was killed in a massive and fiery 15 car crash on lap-11 of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship, which was the final race of the 2011 IndyCar season. IndyCar’s CEO Brian Barnhardt came out 2 hours after the crash and gave the announcement:
“IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race. In honor of Dan Wheldon, the drivers have decided to do a five-lap salute in his honor.”
This all happened LIVE on ABC. I was watching the race. Before the race started, I had a bad feeling about the race. I watched the whole thing live. I was horrified by the crash and I knew someone had been killed, and so did one of the commentators, if you listen to the audio as the crash happened. Months before, at the start of 2011, I made a prediction, call it dumb luck, that an IndyCar driver would die. I started to get emotional when I saw the yellow tarp over the car. I got teary eyed when the helicopter was fired up. I knew he was dead when I saw a picture of Dan’s car after it landed, and I saw his roll hoop missing and helmet damaged. Then I totally broke down and cried when they made the announcement of his death. One day before the crash, I tweeted:
If I don’t get to watch at least one race car driver die in a race LIVE on TV, I swear, I’ll lose my fucking mind.
— Akemi Mokoto (@Otaku2012) October 15, 2011
Now that I got my wish, I regret ever making it.
Dan came to the US in 1999 with dreams of racing glory. Dreams that became reality when he won 16 times, twice at the Indy 500. He had a podium start 5 times and the championship once. He accomplished all of this in 128 races He was the driver with the impossibly bright smile, the larger than life personality and the man who helped develop a safer IndyCar which was introduced in the 2012 season. But for all of his talent behind the wheel, and it was eminence, Dan’s life cannot be summed up by what he did on a race track. Racing was his passion, but Dan Wheldon was more than just a driver.
His greatest gift was his family. His wife, and 2 sons. Dan was a racer, but was also a friend, a brother, a son, a husband, and a father. He is also missed. Goodbye Dan Wheldon, we miss you buddy.
Read the IndyCar investigation: http://www.scribd.com/doc/101806172/Dan-Wheldon-Investigation
Major reactions(Excluding IndyCar, who made several reactions):
Formula 1: http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2011/10/12671.html
Grand AM: http://www.grand-am.com/news/index.cfm?series=r&cid=50863
ALMS did NOT make a statement