Race Weekend Central

Weeping for Wheldon: Reaction From the Sports Community

Twenty-four hours after Dan Wheldon‘s harrowing crash at Las Vegas claimed the Englishman’s life at the age of 33, tributes from the world of racing – and sports – continue to pour in. Here’s a look at what Wheldon’s peers, other athletes, and racing officials are saying about the two-time Indy 500 winner, taken from us far too soon in a tragedy continuing to reverberate around the athletic community:

For more info on Wheldon, be sure to visit the new site danwheldonmemorial.com.

Ashley Judd

As we continue to absorb Dan’s accident – we forget, remember, re- expeirence shock, denial, anger, pain – I’m reminded of a favorite poem:

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so, For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow, Due not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest & sleepe, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. – One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die. J Donne.

“Encourage all to read whole poem. Hardest parts, Thinking about Susie, Sebastian, Oliver. Seeing my husband grieve. Nights are so awful at first. Poor woman. Such pain.”

Michael Andretti

“We had great plans to do fun things together. I’m going to miss him. There was a lot of life in that guy. He was part of the glory days here. We had a combination that has never been put together in the sport of auto racing, in my opinion.”

“But it’s part of our sport. He knew the risks; we all know the risks when we get in the car. It probably touches me a little more because of everything that was going on. It’s a terrible thing, but unfortunately in our sport we’ve had a lot of days like these. They suck, but that’s the way it is.”

Alex Tagliani

“It’s a very sad day. He was my little brother from another mother he was so happy to show me is new Tattoo from last night SW on wrist. I will miss him very much. Suzy I sending you my deepest love to you and the kids”

Editor’s Note: The night before Wheldon died, he and wife Suzie got matching his and her tattoos to showcase their love for each other.

IndyCar CEO Randy Brenard

“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.”

NASCAR Chairman Brian France

“NASCAR offers its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Dan Wheldon, his teammates and the entire IndyCar Series community for their tragic loss. They will be in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”

Eddie Gossage, Texas Motor Speedway President

“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.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Wheldon at the National Guard Youth Challenge dinner about five years ago and we crossed paths several times since then, mostly through our mutual partnership with the National Guard. His success as a racer speaks for itself, but I will remember him as a true professional who was friendly, respectful, and genuine. On behalf of everyone at JR Motorsports, I send condolences to Dan’s family, team and friends in the racing community.”

Richard Childress

“All of us at Richard Childress Racing are saddened by the loss of Dan Wheldon. Dan was a fierce competitor and a great champion. I had the pleasure of meeting him over the past couple of years and quickly realized what a great ambassador he was for our entire sport. Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.”

Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President

“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.”

George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN & ABC Sports

“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.”

See also
The Yellow Stripe: Tragedy in the Face of Triumph, a Tearful Goodbye for Dan Wheldon

Other Columns and Reaction

Brant James, Bay 9 News

Jeff Gluck on SB Nation

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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