We at simrace247.com love our motorsport and sim racing. Our great friends over at Lionheart Racing Series in iRacing pay homage to the great Dan Wheldon. IndyCar Champion, Indy 500 multiple winner and so much more.
Dan Wheldon, Indycar Champion, 2 x Indy 500 winner, and lets face it, one of the most loved people in IndyCar, for many, he will never be forgotten. Our good friends over Lionheart Racing Series in iRacing even named their league after him.
Here we have a piece written by Tyler Graaf from the Lionheart series remembering Dan Wheldon, a star that shined so bright.
Remembering Dan Wheldon – Ten Years Later – By Tyler Graaf
On October 16th, 2011, Indycar fans were buzzing about the championship deciding race between Dario Franchitti and Will Power at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but on top of that, there was a challenge to be met.
A challenge that Dan Wheldon, The Lionheart, took on. If Dan could win the race from the last starting position he would win $5,000,000 to split between himself and a fan.
Dan started the race that day from 34th position and by the completion of lap 11 he was already up 10 positions. Then it happened, two cars touched at the front triggering a 15 car wreck that had even the most desensitized fans wincing as cars flew through the air.
After about two agonizing hours of waiting and hoping we got the news. Dan lost his life in that crash. The man that won the Indianapolis 500 as a one-off entry just months before in Cinderella Story fashion was gone.
Dan Wheldon’s accomplishments were impressive. In his short time in Indycar, he achieved more than most do in their entire career including two Indianapolis 500 wins and a championship.
Dan’s accomplishments did not stop there, the only thing that rivaled his on track talent was who he was as a person off the track and his legacy. Those of us that were lucky enough to meet Dan know that he put the fans first.
He would always go out of his way to make sure everyone felt like they were the only person at the race track. He seemed to always be genuinely happy to pose for pictures and sign autographs.
He loved the fans, and as fans we loved Dan. We may have lost Dan, but he lives on in many ways, from personal fan tributes to online racing leagues to charity karting events and the safety innovations that he helped develop that have helped make racing safer.
The biggest part of Dan’s legacy is his family. Dan’s wife, Susie, and their kids still carry his name to tracks across the states, and occasionally you can find them in an iRacing lobby or two.
Sebastian and Oliver are part of the Andretti Autosport Development program and if you know those kids at all or follow them on social media, it is obvious that these kids have a passion for motorsport that connects them to their Dad.
And they are winning more and more races as they get older. The Lionheart name is more alive than ever, pushing for every victory it can. We may have lost Dan Wheldon ten years ago but for family, friends, and fans it is hard to believe that something that happened a decade ago still feels like it was yesterday.
Dan was a rare breed of driver. The kind of person this world could use more of. Thank you Dan.