As you all know, we’re huge IndyCar fans. It is a somber day as Dan Wheldon succumbed to his injuries at the IndyCar finale in Las Vegas today while attempting to split $5m between him and a fan should he win after starting last in the field. He was doing a great job at it, too, until a rookie mistake in front of him caused a massive 15 car crash, injuring 4 drivers (Dan included). All but Dan walked away.
It is an irony that Dan Wheldon helped test the 2012 IndyCar chassis, which has a number of improvements on safety including improvements to prevent cars from going airborne. There is likely to be much speculation on what was done wrong, how it this will reverberate through the series and other forms of motorsports; and, hindsight being 20/20, what could have been done right to prevent such a tragedy. For now, perhaps it is better to commemorate Dan Wheldon’s success and the loss of a great driver before he likely hit his peak.
He is a two time winner of the Indy 500, including this year’s which he was able to score a one-off ride for; and has won an IndyCar championship. It is indeed a sad day for auto-racing. More can be found here. There is also a good thread on all this on Reddit.
Videos of the crash are all over YouTube (it’s rather bad). Dan was carrying an in-car camera but footage of it has not been released, and that is probably for the best.
I know to some it is just auto racing. And, honestly, I never met Dan personally (though he always had a charming wit when we saw him on TV); but a part of me can’t help but feel sad. He joins a list of rather iconic people that have passed on this month: Dennis Ritchie, founder of the C programming language; Fred Shuttlesworth, a civil rights activist; and, yes, even with his flaws, the late Steve Jobs.
In other, more personal, news, our G-Ma took a nasty fall yesterday while mowing and had to undergo some reconstructive surgery. Uneasy moments over the past two days, but, I am happy to say that she is in good spirits and should be going home tomorrow not much worse for ware (but with two plates and something like 24 screws – eeek!). She is braver than I.
All in all, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.