The world of racing has lost IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, who died at the age of 33 after he was fatally injured in a horrible crash involving a 15-car pileup. Wheldon was driving in the Las Vegas Indy 300 when a horrific crash on Sunday caused his vehicle to hit a wall and burst into flames.
The IndyCar racer had begun go-carting in Britain at the age of 4, and was highly ambitious at the age of 15. Frustrated with the racing industry in Britain and uninterested in Formula One, he travelled to the US, where he became a household name in America. However, he wasn’t as well known in Britain, not even in his hometown.
After an early rivalry with Jenson Button in the carting world, he went on to win the Indy 500 twice and became a successful IndyCar Driver. He died in hospital after the accident, and the race was cancelled. He has left behind a wife and two small children. His family and friends have been pouring in tributes, with his father Clive saying, “Daniel was born to be a racer and left us doing what he loved to do. He was a true champion and a gentleman on and off the track. Words cannot describe how much our family will miss him.”
Tributes From Friends and Colleagues
Formula One star Jenson Button said that he was “a true fighter” in a twitter post about his former colleague, which read, “I have so many good memories of racing with Dan in the early 90s, a true fighter. We’ve lost a legend in our sport but also a great guy. I can’t begin to imagine what his family are going through and my thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.”
Other F1 stars have poured in tributes as well. Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 F1 World Champion, said that the success of Wheldon inspired a generation. “Dan was a racer I’d followed throughout my career, as I often followed in his footsteps as we climbed the motorsport ladder in the UK. This is a tragic loss at such a young age,” said the champion.
In addition, Jackie Steward, three-time F1 World Champion, and Motorsport all-star questioned whether or not the race should have gone on in the first place, and said the accident should be a “wake-up call”.