Team and driver statements on the passing of Dan Wheldon

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Statements received by Motorsport.com

2011 Indy 500 race winner Dan Wheldon, Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb / Agajanian celebrates
2011 Indy 500 race winner Dan Wheldon, Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb / Agajanian celebrates

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Statements on the passing of Dan Wheldon

Statement from Bryan Herta Autosport on the Passing of Dan Wheldon

Bryan Herta, Team Co-Owner:

“Everyone at Bryan Herta Autosport is reeling from the loss of our friend and teammate Dan Wheldon. Dan was the glue that bound our little team together. It was his spark and belief in us that carried us all to Victory Lane at Indianapolis this year, and his legacy within the sport as a tremendous champion and competitor is unquestioned. But more than that, Dan became my little brother from our time together as teammates at AGR. I watched with pride as he developed from the brash young hotshot on the circuit to a man who was a great husband and father, ambassador, friend, champion and hero. Our thoughts and prayers are with Susie and the boys, and all of Dan’s family and fans who are trying to make sense of this terrible loss. We are all lucky and blessed to have had Dan Wheldon influence our lives, and his spirit lives on in each one of us. Godspeed my friend.”

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STATEMENT FROM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT ON PASSING OF DAN WHELDON

"It is with extreme sorrow that we have lost one of our champion drivers today. Dan was an Indy 500 champion and IndyCar Series champion with Andretti Autosport-and one of our closest competitors. Dan brought such enthusiasm and passion to the sport not often seen in motorsports. We will remember Dan's tremendous racing accomplishments with our team as well his infectious personality. We would like to express our deepest sympathy to Dan's family, racing team and friends today. Dan is one of IndyCar's greatest champions."

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Statement on the Passing of Dan Wheldon This statement is in regard to the death of Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, who passed away due to injuries suffered in today IZOD Indy Car World Championships at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“The passing of Dan Wheldon today is a great shame. Dan was a great driver as evidenced by not only his Indianapolis 500 victories, but by his many wins and great performances in the race car. But he was much more than a great driver. He was a good guy, good family man and really seemed to have a bright future not only as a driver but as a television personality as well. We had spoken to him very recently about his prospects as a driver for 2012 with our team and he was very enthusiastic about his future. He will be missed.

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Sam Schmidt Statement Regarding Dan Wheldon

A statement from Sam Schmidt, owner of the No. 77 IndyCar Series team, about driver Dan Wheldon, who suffered fatal injuries in a crash during the IndyCar Series season finale Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

“Dan Wheldon was a tremendous competitor, a great racer and an even better person. It was an honor to have him be a part of our team. All of us at Sam Schmidt Motorsports are deeply saddened by his passing. On behalf of everyone at Sam Schmidt Motorsports, our prayers go out to all of his family, especially his wife, Susie, and their two children.”

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Panther Pays Tribute to Dan Wheldon – Legend, Champion and Friend

Panther 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. 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, humor and spirit he showed outside the racecar that set him a cut above the rest. He will be missed, but always remembered.

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Statement From Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Dan Wheldon

JR Motorsports owner and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. issued the following statement Sunday evening after the passing of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon:

“I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Wheldon at the National Guard Youth Challenge dinner about five years ago, and we crossed paths several times since then, mostly through our mutual partnership with the National Guard. His success as a racer speaks for itself, but I will remember him as a true professional who was friendly, respectful, and genuine. On behalf of everyone at JR Motorsports, I send condolences to Dan’s family, team, and friends in the racing community.”

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Statement from HVM Racing Regarding Dan Wheldon

The following is a statement from HVM Racing Owner, Keith Wiggins:

"The IndyCar community - drivers, teams, fans - arrived at the track today to compete and celebrate a championship. Instead, we lost one of the sport's best. Dan Wheldon was a champion on the track and a great ambassador for the sport. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dan's family.

It's in moments like this that you witness the strength of the IndyCar community. Even though we compete against each other week after week, it's like we've lost a member of our own family. We'll go forward into the 2012 season by reflecting on the great memories we have of Dan Wheldon."

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Newman/Haas Racing drivers on the passing of Dan Wheldon

Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “This is incredibly sad. We all know this is part of the sport. Cars are getting safer, tracks are getting safer so fortunately it hasn’t happened in a long time. We all had a bad feeling about this place in particular just because of the high banking and how easy it was to go flat and if you give us the opportunity, we are drivers and we try to go to the front -- we race each other hard because that’s what we do. We knew if could happen but it’s just really sad. There was no right or wrong thing to do really on how to proceed. It’s the first time ever that we knew that a driver was gone so I think the series did the right thing. Even if you were going to be more careful we were still going to be traveling at a very high speed and in a risky situation. I think Randy’s call was rational. He was saying ‘Listen, you guys are not thinking straight.’ If they had kept us in the car and we still had hope that Dan was going to be okay and they restarted the race sooner you can just focus on what you do. This wasn’t the right way either to finish the race or the season; it feels wrong but there was no right way to deal with the situation. I feel so bad for Susie and their kids. It’s so tough to understand when somebody is gone that quickly. Dan was always a very happy guy; he was always smiling. He was a funny, great person that touched a lot of people. He will be missed.”

James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s a black day for the sport. We came in here hoping for a good season-finale and ended up losing a very close friend and a very good racing driver. I think Dan was coming into his second wind as a driver. He had so much success early on and he was getting back into that. It’s going to be hard next year to climb into the new cars every time knowing that if it wasn’t for Dan this thing wouldn’t be what it was. He made such an impact on this sport and will even continue to now. It’s proof that this is still a very dangerous sport. As hard as we work on the safety side, these things are still very possible. It’s tough to put into words what everybody is feeling. There was no right answer on how to deal with this situation in terms of the rest of the race. Deep down we all think Dan would have wanted us to race but out of respect for him we made a decision, right or wrong. We’re going to have to regroup over the winter and head into the first race next year and race the whole year for Dan because all I said, the new car that we all are going to be blessed with the opportunity to race, a lot of that is as good as it is because of Dan. My thoughts are with Susie and the kids.”

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STATEMENTS REGARDING THE PASSING OF FORMER TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING DRIVER DAN WHELDON:

Chip Ganassi, Team Owner:

"What can you say? He was such a big presence in our sport and quite a talent. Today we lost a little bit of Indycar. He raced here for us for three years, won six races and made many friends – the whole Chip Ganassi Racing organization mourns his passing. My thoughts and prayers go out to Susie, the boys and the whole Wheldon family."

Gregg Steinhafel, Chariman, President and CEO, Target:

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic and sudden death of Dan Wheldon, who drove for Target Chip Ganassi Racing from 2006 to 2008. He was a special part of the Target family and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Dan’s family and friends."

Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Driver, No. 10 Target Honda:

“We lost a good friend. Everybody in IndyCar Series considered Dan a friend. He was one of those special, special people from the first moment he showed up in IndyCar. And he was kind of the brash, but he was a charmer. Then he became this loving family guy who was still charming, but he had this whole new side to him. I'm just thinking of Susie and the boys. When I think about them I'm struggling to hold it together.”

Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Driver, No. 9 Target Honda:

“Dan is family and I will miss him badly. Such an amazing person and wonderful family man. We will be with Susie, Sebastian and Oliver for whatever they need. I still can't believe it."

Graham Rahal, Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Driver, No. 38 Service Central Honda:

"My heart goes out to the Wheldon family. Dan was an incredible champion, a great friend and someone I will always respect and admire. We have truly lost one of the greatest members of our INDYCAR family."

Charlie Kimball, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Driver, No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen Honda:

"We lost a special member of our INDYCAR family. Dan was doing exactly what he wanted and died doing what he loved. Our thoughts are with his wife, Susie, and his two children. There are much bigger plans in life than we can ever hope to understand. Dan will be forever missed."

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STATEMENT FROM MIKE CONWAY ON THE PASSING OF DAN WHELDON

I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Dan’s family who are in my thoughts on this sad day.

Having raced against Dan for many years, I respected him greatly as a driver as well as a friend, and today’s tragic accident is a huge loss to motorsport.

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Statements from Dreyer & Reinbold Racing on the Loss of Dan Wheldon

Dennis Reinbold, Co-Owner Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:
"Today was a very emotional day. We all lost a friend, and a true champion of the sport. It hurts deeply when something like this happens and our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family during this time."

Robbie Buhl, Co-Owner Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:
"Today was an extremely tragic day. There are no words to express our sorrow over the loss of Dan. He was a Champion and few loved the sport as much as him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Wheldon family."

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Richard Childress Statement Regarding Dan Wheldon

The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, regarding the passing of IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon:

"All of us at Richard Childress Racing are saddened by the loss of Dan Wheldon. Dan was a fierce competitor and a great champion. I had the pleasure of meeting him over the past couple of years and quickly realized what a great ambassador he was for our entire sport. Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends."

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Oliver Gavin tribute to Dan Wheldon

Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin, a stalwart of the American Le Mans Series, knew Dan Wheldon from the age of 6 or 7, competing against him in karting and wanted to pay this personal tribute following yesterday’s tragic events.

“It’s obviously tragic for everyone in motorsport, a very sad day. Dan was massively passionate about motorsport and got a huge amount from racing in the USA – something I can relate to very much.

“I’ve known Dan since a very young age when we raced against each other at Kimbolton Kart Club. We’d be parked up next to him and his dad, Clive, for many a weekend and we got to know all the family; his mum was a scorer at the club. He comes from Emberton which is only about 5 miles from where I live and the family are well known.

“I feel desperately sorry for Susie and his two young sons. You feel most for the people left behind.”

Oliver is currently in Australia where he will be taking part in this weekend’s Armor Gold Coast 600 Aussie V8 Supercar race, an event that Wheldon was also due to participate in. Oliver and fellow British Racing Driver Club members, including 3-times WTCC champion Andy Priaulx, Richard Westbrook and Marino Franchitti, will be honouring the memory of Dan at the race with black armbands and a message on their race helmets.

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Statement from William Rast on the Passing of Dan Wheldon

Colin Dyne, CEO:
“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 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 honored 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.”

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STATEMENT FROM CONQUEST RACING REGARDING DAN WHELDON

Below are statements from Conquest Racing’s team owner, Eric Bachelart, and driver, Sebastian Saavedra, regarding the passing of Dan Wheldon during yesterday’s IZOD IndyCar race.

Eric Bachelart Team Owner
“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. 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.”

Sebastian Saavedra
No. 34 Conquest Racing/Bogota/Es Mundial/Honda/Dallara/Firestone Driver
“We lost not only an amazing driver, we lost a great father, friend and a very honorable person. 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.”

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A MESSAGE FROM RRDC PRESIDENT BOBBY RAHAL

Dan Wheldon: Rest In Peace

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 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 honor this lovely man. Then we will do what Dan would have done; we will go racing. -- Bobby Rahal

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Series INDYCAR
Tags crash, indycar, las vegas, wheldon