IndyCar »

Mourners say farewell to Dan Wheldon

Family and friends have paid a tearful farewell to Dan Wheldon at a funeral service in his adopted American home town of St Petersburg in Florida on Saturday.
Hundreds of mourners arrived to pay their respects to Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon at a funeral service at the First Presbyterian Church of St. Petersburg, the Florida city that he had made his home in the US with his wife Susie and their two children, 2-year-old Sebastian and 7-month-old Oliver.

Wheldon's father Clive carried Dan's familiar racing helmet, as IndyCar drivers Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan acted as pallbearers for the coffin along with Wheldon's three brothers Austen, Elliott and Ashley.

A letter written by Susie Wheldon and read out on her behalf during the service said that "I keep thinking this is a bad dream ... My heart is scattered in a million pieces."

Another letter, written by Dan's sister Holly and read out at the service by Scott Dixon, spoke of Wheldon's love and passion for racing: "My brother was born to race ... Dan without racing is like a cup of tea without milk, and Dan loved tea."

Susie Wheldon's own letter offered a similar anecdote from their first meeting at a PR shoot in 2003, when she had asked him what his back-up career plan was if motor racing didn't work out for him: "I don't have one," Wheldon had replied.

Team owners Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske were among the mourners, along with many of the drivers that Wheldon had competed against over the years in IndyCar.

"The past week's been a tough one," admitted Graham Rahal. "It really puts it all in perspective."

"It's almost indescribable," said Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had just learned that he was to be Wheldon's team mate at Andretti Autosport in 2012 in a deal just agreed before the fateful Vegas weekend. "This is something that I never really experienced in my life."

Two drivers who went to hospital after the 15-car wreck at Vegas were also present, with Will Power clearly suffering from the after effects of a painful back sustained after flying through the air in a manner terrifyingly close to that which claimed Wheldon's life. Pippa Mann also attended the service, with her right arm bandaged after having surgery for burns.

Wheldon's best man from his marriage to Susie in 2008, Adrian Sussmann, spoke about Wheldon's pursuit of perfection in everything he did, which culminated in his second Indy 500 victory with a scratch team put together by Wheldon's former team mate Bryan Herta, which had achieved the impossible feat of beating the series 'big boys'.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dan Wheldon starts prepping the next generation of Indy 500 winner (2-year-old son Sebastian) in front of his Indy 500 race-winning car and the Borg-Warner Trophy, on the start-finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Monday May 30, 2011. [Picture credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon in his Indy 500 race-winning car, with the winner`s garland and the Borg-Warner Trophy, on the start-finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway marked with its
Dan Wheldon and his family, the day after winning the 2011 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, 2011. [Picture credit; Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Simon Penske - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Bret Kelley]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Will Power - Penske  [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.