Over the weekend there was supposed to be excitement about the close title fight between Dario Franchitti and Will Power. There was supposed to be a farewell to Danica Patrick who would be running her last race in an Indy Car before going to NASCAR full time next year. There was also supposed to be anitipation of Dan Wheldon’s challenge to try and move from the back of the pack and win the race so that he could split 5 million dollars with a fan. Unfortunately nothing happend the way it was supposed to yesterday.
It was only the 11th lap. Dan had already moved up 10 positions when a chain reaction happened in front of him which turned into a horrible pile up at 200+ mph. Dan was caught in the carnage with no where to go and his car went airborne into the “catch fence”. He was air lifted to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries. Indy Car officials stopped the race and all the drivers who still had working cars after the crash participated in a 5 lap tribute to Wheldon.
Dan Wheldon was a great competitor and a champion. He won the Indy 500 twice (2005, 2011) and he won the Indy Car series championship. Despite all his success he was also a philanthropist and an incredibly charitable person. He will be deeply missed by the racing community at large.
This is hands down the worse possible way the Indy Car season could have ended. Our thoughts are with Dan’s family, his wife Susie and his two sons Sebastien and Oliver.
UPDATE: Below is the video of the announcement of Dan Wheldon’s passing and the 5 lap tribute.