Dan Wheldon, 33, 2005 IndyCar champion and multiple Indianapolis 500 winner, passed away today after a horrific crash at the IndyCar season ending race at Las Vegas.
All the details about the crash can be found on various motor-sport portals.
It is rather unusual that I woke up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and checked my phone. I read a tweet that Wheldon had been seriously injured. I could not believe my eyes and the first thing that crossed my mind was “let him be safe God!”.
Wasn’t to be.
Moments later, I found out that he had succumbed to his injuries at the University Medical Centre just hours after the crash.
I was numb and in utter disbelief!
The only possible feeling of relief I felt at the time was not having watched it live.
This is a stark reminder that motor-sport is extremely dangerous. Things like this can happen in a split second and before you could realize, the worst could have already occurred. I was a small kid and hadn’t even started watching motor-sport when Ayrton’s (and Ratzenberger’s) fateful crash happened at Imola in ’94, but those images still haunt me as it was the first fatal crash I’d ever seen, albeit a few years later.
Since then, I’ve always hoped and prayed to never have to witness or learn about anything like that ever. I’ve had a few major scares since I got into this, but sometimes luckily, sometimes miraculously but always thankfully, the worst was avoided. The ones that I can recall to have stopped my heart for a moment are Kubica‘s crash in ’07 (F1), Ernesto Viso at Magny-Cours in the same year (GP2), Massa‘s crash in ’09 (F1). There are a lot of other moments that looked horrific, but these are the ones that made me fear the worst until news of them being okay arrived.
Henry Surtees, though, wasn’t one of the fortunate ones. His almost unbelievable accident and death at Brands Hatch ’09 (GP2) was another utterly sorrowful day and it still gives me the chills.
Although I do not watch IndyCar live often, I do follow it. Today, we ran out of miracles and luck. It’s a very sad day and a day that I’d always hoped not to see.
I salute the heroes of motor-sport, their bravery, their incredible zeal and for everything they’ve done to keep us entertained while themselves playing with fire and dodging death on multiple occasions.
Dan Wheldon’s name has been added to the list of motor-sport’s legends who went to their death doing what they loved to do.
R.I.P Dan Wheldon.
God be with your family and friends. You will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed.