18 October 2011
Wheldon family touched by tributes
Colin Dyne, CEO of Wheldon's Indianapolis 500-winning sponsor William Rast thanked the 33-year old what he had given the company.
“As we struggle to process this devastating news, my heart and soul reach out to Dan's wife Susie, his two boys and the rest of his family," he said, "He was a true champion who had the unique quality of making everyone around him feel like a winner. Not only a hero, but also a great friend, we are honoured to have counted Dan as part of the William Rast family. We will surely miss our friend and never forget what he gave to all of us.”
Wheldon's management company admitted that it was 'deeply saddened by the tragic loss' of a friend and client.
"Dan was a winner," it claimed, "For the past eleven years, we were privileged to watch Dan become a champion on the track and a devoted family man off it. He loved the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was immensely proud to have his name etched twice on the Borg Warner trophy alongside some of the Indy 500 greats.
"He touched so many people in racing and around the world with his warm smile, his charming personality and his genuine good nature. Dan loved his fans and always took that extra bit of time to take a photo, to sign an autograph, to make some young kid smile at the racetrack. Everyone wanted to be around Dan. His passion and his enthusiasm for life was infectious. We will all miss him...
A true champion of motorsport... A proud brother to Austin, Ashley, Elliott and Holly... A devoted son to Clive and Sue... A loving husband to Susie... A doting father to his boys, Sebastian and Oliver... And our friend... Rest in peace Dan...your memory will live with us forever."
Finally, former racer Bobby Rahal - whose son Graham raced against Wheldon in 2010-11 - paid tribute to a real racer.
"On Sunday, the Road Racing Drivers Club lost a fellow member, the racing community lost a brilliant talent and the Wheldon family lost a husband and father," the veteran campaigner wrote, "The last tragic loss is the only one that really matters. Our hearts are burdened with grief for Dan's family and we hope they feel the arms of their friends around them.
"Racing can be a bitter sport, but life in the racing community is so exhilarating that, year after year, incident after incident, drivers choose to race. Dan continued when others had troubles; his fellow RRDC members will as well, some even soon. Racing isn't heartless; those who participate know that there is no community more loving or more mutually supportive. Racing is a rewarding way of life that Dan and his fellow RRDC members chose, and loved, for very personal reasons.
"Dan Wheldon was our teammate, our competitor and our friend. The RRDC will do what we can to help his family, and we will always honour this lovely man. Then we will do what Dan would have done; we will go racing."
Details of a public memorial service in Indianapolis will be forthcoming from IndyCar in the next week, while GoDaddy.com has created a memorial website in Wheldon's honour. The Briton was rumoured to have agreed terms to replace NASCAR-bound Danica Patrick in the GoDaddy-sponsored Andretti Autosport car next season.
The memorial site, which includes a Facebook link to leave condolences and remembrances and a career photo retrospective, can be found at http://www.danwheldonmemorial.com/
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