It was a sad end for a sports legend when Dan Wheldon, winner of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 died on Sunday as a result of a devastating crash on the eleventh lap of the finale of Indy Car Series. Sports pages of almost every sports news in both electronic and print media screamed “Dan Wheldon Dies”.
The race was called off but drivers, many of whom had great reverences and liking for Dan, gave a five lap tribute and the announcement made by the CEO of IndyCar Series was simple giving the message that “Dan Wheldon Dies”.
Incidentally, Dan became the first driver of IndyCar to die on the track after Paul Dans who died during a practice session back in the year 2006.
The news that “Dan Wheldon Dies” was like a bolt from the blue for the Indy Car family as many considered that they had no only lost a good driver but also a very good friend and a charmer.
2005 World Series champion from Emberton in England, Wheldon was only 33 when he figured in the news “Dan Wheldon Dies”. It was only the third IndyCar race he was participating in 2011 in the quest for earning $5 million as bonus by winning the race.
It was a special offer for the driver who did not participate in the full series during the year and it was only Dan who accepted the challenge. He was also supposed to switch over to Go-Daddy sponsored car for Andretti Autosport next year replacing Danica Patric who is supposed to move over to NASCAR full time during the year 2012. However, it was not to be and before any of this could happen, the message arrived that “Dan Wheldon Dies”.
Naturally, the family was shell shocked getting the news that “Dan Wheldon Dies”. While they have been thankful to everyone for the condolences and support, they also wanted some exclusively secluded time for privately grieving the sad occasion.
Wheldon had won the 2005 Indy500 with Andretti Autosport and the said enterprise had decided to sign a contract on Sunday after the race for Dan to replace Patrick for the coming season. Unfortunately, at the end of the race there was no Dan but only the sad message “Dan Wheldon Dies”.
The accident that took his life was massive and involved as many as 15 cars at a time. While three other drivers that included the major contender for the championship Will Power were also injured in the accident but none lost their life and the death message was singularized to “Dan Wheldon Dies”.
It was hardly a few minutes since the commencement of the race when two cars ahead of Wheldon touched tires creating a wreck that Dan could not escape. His car was only one of many that crashed into the rake and were in flames. From video replays it was seen that Wheldon’s car not only turned over but went airborne and hit the catch fence designed to give way a little when cars struck it.
Unfortunately, frantic efforts by rescue workers did not help change the fate and the origin of the message; “Dan Wheldon Dies”.