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Memorial celebrates Dan Wheldon's life

IndyCar staged a public memorial service to celebrate the life and times of Dan Wheldon on Sunday, which included contributions from Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta.
Friends and colleagues from the world of IndyCar gathered in Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon, for a public memorial service at Conseco Fieldhouse to celebrate the life and successes of Dan Wheldon, who had died in a major racing accident in Las Vegas a week before.

The service started with a moment of silence for another motor racing star, MotoGP's Marco Simoncelli, after the news that he has lost his life earlier that day in a terrible accident in Sepang.

The service also included a memorable salute to Wheldon from his three team mates at Andretti-Green Racing in 2005 when he won the IRL championship - Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta, who remained his closest friends on and off the track for the rest of his life.

"At first Dan was pretty much the little brother we didn't want," said Franchitti. "And now we'd do anything to have him back. We'll miss you, DW."

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard was one of the first to take to the stage to deliver a eulogy to Wheldon, the driver he described as "a great champion and personal friend to so many of us.

"We have all been devastated by the terrible accident that took Dan Wheldon's life," he said. "Today we mourn Dan's loss but also celebrate his life. We honour him for who he was. This turnout is a wonderful tribute to Dan and a reminder to all of us that a single life – well lived – can make a difference to so many other lives. Certainly that was true of Dan."

Behind him on the stage were some of the trophies and symbols of success that Wheldon had won during his career in US open-wheel racing including the Borg-Warner Trophy for the Indianapolis 500 champion, but Bernard was quick to point out that "the victories and the accolades, they didn't define him. His strong character, his enthusiastic approach to life and the love of family, friends and fans did.

"There was a reason he was a fan favourite. I would see him go out of his way to shake that serviceman's hand, make a young child smile, do that extra interview or joke with a driver. He loved life and it always showed."

Also on stage was the 2012 IndyCar Safety Cell chassis that Wheldon had been helping to test ahead of its roll-out next season, and which incorporates many new safety features that address some of the factors involved in Wheldon's fatal accident in Vegas. For the show, the chassis - which will be named in Wheldon's memory - was bedecked in a red-and-white Lionheart livery.




Related Pictures

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Fans arriving at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis were able to sign a commemorative banner before the public memorial service. [Photo credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
The 2012 IndyCar Safety Cell chassis that Dan Wheldon had been testing in the weeks before his accident: it will be named in memory of the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion. [Photo credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard addresses the memorial service, surrounded by some of the trophies that Dan Wheldon had won in IndyCar. [Photo credit: Daniel Incandela for IndyCar Media]
Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta, Dan Wheldon`s Andretti-Green Racing team mates in 2005 when he won the IndyCar championship - showing off the rings he gave them to mark the achievement. [Photo credit: Daniel Incandela for IndyCar Media]
Jack Hawksworth and Marco Andretti crash during a restart attempt. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Will Power, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet Racing introduces the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Indianapolis 500 pace car Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive the Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the race on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet Racing introduces the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Indianapolis 500 pace car Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive the Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the race on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet Racing announces Tuesday, March 25, 2014 that three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet Racing announces Tuesday, March 25, 2014 that three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Dario Franchitti reviews data in the Target Chip Ganassi pit stand at the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announcement that Jacques Villeneuve will drive for them in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Villeneuve appeared by video link, with his 1995 race-winning car pictures in the foreground. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announcement that Jacques Villeneuve will drive for them in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Villeneuve appeared by video link, with his 1995 race-winning car pictures in the foreground. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announcement that Jacques Villeneuve will drive for them in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Villeneuve appeared by video link, with his 1995 race-winning car pictures in the foreground. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti during the press conference at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing shop. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti jokes with Tony Kanaan during his press conference at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing offices. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti poses with the Borg-Warner Trophy and the Astor Cup following his retirement press conference at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing offices. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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T - Unregistered

October 24, 2011 6:38 PM

A fitting and moving tribute to Dan, laughter and tears and great memories. Garth Brooks singing 'the Dance' was so fitting "...I could have missed the pain,but I'd of had to miss the dance". RIP Dan



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