National Guard Panther Racing Driver's Lake Placid Flip, Slide Airs this Weekend
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - (January 29, 2010) -- A frightening bobsled crash involving National Guard Panther Racing driver Dan Wheldon will be featured this Sunday at 5 p.m. (EST) during SPEED channel's broadcast of the annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge.
Wheldon, who was attending the event on behalf of the National Guard, was in Lake Placid taking a demonstration ride with NHRA driver Phil Burkhart, when he flipped the bobsled -- sending Wheldon out the back of the sled, where he slid down the remainder of the course at just under 70 mph.
"I must say, it was the hardest crash I've ever experienced in my career," Wheldon said. "But at the same time, I have an entirely new respect for the people that are professional bobsledders. It honestly was one of the most painful experiences I've had, but by the same token it was a lot of fun. I was having a great time ... right up until the point (Burkhart) crashed."
The National Guard played a key role in the event, as Soldiers worked as brakemen during the race. The race was highlighted by motorsports stars Boris Said, Joey Logano and others. Bodine organized the event in an effort to help raise money for the USA Olympic bobsled team.
Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis and IZOD IndyCar Series champion, was a great sport during the event -- and bowed to the crowed immediately following the accident.
"Driving a bobsled sure looks a lot easier than it is, but if I was driving we would have crashed in a much more spectacular fashion," Wheldon joked. "But this shows how difficult this is and how incredibly talented these people are that do this in the Olympics. And it's another reason I'm so thankful to be sponsored by the National Guard because I have the opportunity to do exciting events like this, so I appreciate the Guard and Geoff Bodine having me out this year."
Aside from some substantial bruising, Wheldon was uninjured in the crash, which will be the highlight of Sunday's broadcast on SPEED.
"You got the full experience," Bodine told with Wheldon after the crash. "I've only crashed here once, and that was during a test. So you're tied with me."
Boris Said, the defending champion of the event, had an even better take on the crash once the crowd had been assured Wheldon was uninjured.
"He's going to have to go back to IndyCars where it's safe," Said joked.
-source: panther racing