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Wheldon family touched by tributes

Dan Wheldon continues to receive tributes from the wider motorsport community following Sunday's accident in Las Vegas.

Dan Wheldon's parents have thanked the wider motorsport community for the concern it has shown following their son's fatal accident in the IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

In a brief statement issued on Monday, the family described Wheldon as a 'true champion' and a 'gentleman on and off the track', adding to a series of tributes paid by the driver's IndyCar contemporaries and others from the likes of F1 champions Jenson Button, who raced against Wheldon from their karting days, and Lewis Hamilton.

"The family would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming outpouring of sympathy," Clive Wheldon said, "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. He touched so many and the world is a better place because of Dan. He was a proud brother to Austen, Ashley, Elliott and Holly. He was a devoted son to Sue and myself and a loving husband to his wife."

Tributes continued to be paid to Wheldon throughout the day, as the IndyCar community came to terms with its loss.

"Panther [Racing] would like to send its deepest condolences and respects to family and friends of Dan Wheldon, and more specifically to his wife Susie and their children Sebastian and Oliver," the driver's first IndyCar employer wrote, "Dan is an IndyCar legend, a champion, a friend, and one of the greatest ambassadors in the history of open-wheel racing and the Indianapolis 500.

"Since making his IndyCar Series debut with Panther in 2002, and subsequently returning for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Dan was an unbelievable representative of our team and partners. The passion and commitment that Dan showed to Soldiers of the National Guard, and Cadets in its Youth ChalleNGe program, and fans of this sport, is what set him apart. In our experience we cannot recall one instance where Dan said no to an autograph request, bypassed a photo request, or left an appearance without assuranceseverybody there who wanted to meet him had done so.

"He was a special talent, a better person, and had a positive impact in the lives of so many in the sport. While Dan's on-track success speaks for itself, it's the professionalism, humour and spirit he showed outside the racecar that set him a cut above the rest. He will be missed, but always remembered."

Conquest Racing also added its memories.

“I've known Dan since he first came to the USA and, like a lot of other people, I had a great connection with him," team owner Eric Bachelart commented, "Dan represented the true IndyCar driver spirit, always available and positive, he was a great talent, a great friend, and a great family man. I would like to send my deepest condolences to his family. It's hard to accept what happened yesterday, we all know it's a dangerous sport but we need to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

Conquest driver Sebastian Saavedra agreed that the charismatic Briton would leave a huge hole in the paddock.

“We lost not only an amazing driver, we lost a great father, friend and a very honourable person," he noted, "It's very hard to believe this is possible and sometimes we forget how dangerous what we do is. But we will never forget how much he loved racing and the adrenaline this sport gave him. We will miss him incredibly for his unique smile, sense of being and how friendly he was to all, but we will never forget him in any sense of the word. May he rest in peace and may his family accept this great loss with cherish. We love you Dan.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The scoring pylon shows Dan Wheldon`s car number, #77, as the remaining cars make a five-lap parade around Las Vegas Motor Speedway after the news that Wheldon had passed away from his injuries. [Photo Credit: IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon, 2011 Indianapolis 500 champion. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 2011 season finale. [Picture credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
A look over Dan Wheldon`s shoulder into the cockpit of Dan Wheldon`s car at Kentucky Speedway [Photo credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Former Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon sits in the cockit of his Bryan Herta Autosports car in pit lane during practice on Thursday, May 19 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [Picture credit: Ron McQueeney for IndyCar Media]
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Graham Rahal Detroit IndyCar 2017
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Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
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Graham Rahal sits in his Honda machine on pit lane during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
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Marco Andretti, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Graham Rahal, and James Hinchcliffe bring their machines across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal leads a group through the Turn 2 Keyhole turn during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
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Rick - Unregistered

October 19, 2011 2:53 AM

Hey John...I think a lot of people are just stunned from the loss of this true gentleman of a talent. I haven't been on crash for about a week,but it doesn't mean millions aren't thinking of Dan firstly,as well as his family. God be with him.In this hard time of mourning,I cannot imagine how difficult a mother,father,brothers and sisters could contain themselves,yet thank the people for their comments of support. That really shows where Dan gets his true quality of person...from the roots. Dan will be miss,no doubt.

JOHN - Unregistered

October 18, 2011 5:51 PM

Am I the only fan paying my tribute to Dan's family here??? I am so sad to see so few comments on other news stories and none so far on this one. If this had been Rossi in MotoGP there would be up to 1000 comments (if not more) per news story. Where are all the IndyCar fans?????? Dan brought unspeakable joy to indyCar and paid the ultimate price for the farce the final 'showdown race' was. Godspeed to his family

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