IndyCar »

Dan Wheldon Memorial Kart race a great success

“Gentleman, start your engines.”
Dan Wheldon called karting 'the purest form of motorsport' and Daytona Milton Keynes provided a great way of honouring the late double Indianapolis 500 winner.

Two-stroke engined karts raced around the circuit on a chilly Monday evening and raised money for the Wheldon family's chosen charity, the Alzheimer's Society.

Wheldon was described as a 'mini Ayrton Senna' in karts. He won the Cadet championship in 1988, 89 and 90, the Junior 100B title in 1993 and the Ayrton Senna Memorial World Cup at Suzuka in 1994 driving for Terry Fullerton's team. During his success in Indycars in the United States, Wheldon paid homage to his roots in karting, competing at the Montoya Race of Stars in Columbia, the Granja Viana 500 in Brazil and, in February this year, at the Florida Winter Tour.

The day before the memorial event held in his honour, he had been honoured for his achievements in motorsport with a posthumous Gregor Grant Award at the Autosport Awards in London.

An impressive range of racing talents came and 100 members of the public paid to drive alongside them. 36 teams with four drivers each competed in the race. They included Wheldon's karting rivals, Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson; his friend in Indycars and fellow Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti; Martin and Alex Brundle; Luke Hines; Johnny Herbert; David Coulthard; BTCC champion James Thompson; and up-and-coming young talent like GP2's Sam Bird and Formula World Series Renault champion Robert Wickens. Reliving the days of nurturing their sons through the karting series, John Button and Denis Davidson joined Wheldon's father Clive. Siblings Austen, Elliott, Ashley and Holly also joined the drivers for the photo shoot.

Johnny Mowlem thanked everyone for coming saying it was testament to the 'spirit of community' within motorsport.

“I just came up with the idea and Daytona approved it immediately,” he said.

Alongside the sense of loss, there was a party atmosphere at the event and as Mowlem said: 'Dan liked a good party.'

The novel twist for the race was the Cash for Penalties initiative. Competitors could bribe the clerk of the course Jim Graham to give their competitors black flags and stop-and-go penalties in the pit-lane. They could also pay for laps to be added on.

The 30-minute practice session saw Team Herbert qualify on pole position and, after the announcement of 'Gentleman, start your engines', the field took to the track escorted by a Mercedes SLS pacecar.

The race was frantic with three red flags and slippery tarmac. It lasted for two hours and ended before the curfew.

The winner was Team Button-DW Lionhearts, which included Jenson Button, Clive Wheldon and family friends Doug Coleman and Mark Lewis. Second was shared between Team Coulthard-DW Bandits (Elliott and Ashley Wheldon and Jason Moore) and Team Franchitti-DW Legends (Dario Franchitti, Holly Wheldon, Peter Houghton, Tom Coleman and Gavin MacFayden). Third place went to Team Watts (Danny Watts, Jim Littman, Jason Fowler, Nick Perks and Austen Wheldon).

“Dan would have been proud," Clive Wheldon said as he presented the trophies, "I just wish he could have been here tonight. I hope we repeat this event next year with people like Jenson and all the other drivers who have come to support him. I take my hat off to them.”

Three cheers were raised for Mowlem and the professional drivers signed the Dan Wheldon Memorial Event kart board which will be auctioned on eBay. The money raised during the event was £17,000.


by Simon Stiel



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dan Wheldon`s family with star drivers at memorial kart event
All-star cast at Dan Wheldon memorial kart event
F1 ace Jenson Button in action at Dan Wheldon memorial kart event
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Johnny Rutherford speaks with official pace car driver Dario Franchitti (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves in action (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Sage Karam and Helio Castroneves (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth at IMS (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud on track with Carlos Huertas (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra`s rebuilt #17 KV AFS Racing car makes its return to the track in practice on Tuesday at Indianapolis. (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan on Monday at practice for the Indianapolis 500. (Photo by: Chris Owens 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)
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)

Start 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 - 2014 Crash Media Group

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