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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dan Wheldon - Autopsy Details & Funeral (photos/video)

Indycar Drivers carry Dan (ap)
UPDATE: 10/22/11 Today two time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon's funeral took place at 10:00am at First Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. Among the Pallbearers were Indycar drivers Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti
Dan's Father(r),Wife(c)&Her Father (ap)
Wheldon's business manager, Adrian Sussman, reminded the gathering of how suddenly Wheldon's death had disrupted the lives of those who loved him.
Ashley Judd (splash news)
"Three years ago I thought I had the toughest job in the world when Dan and Susie asked me to give the best man speech at their wedding," Sussman said. "I was wrong. Our hearts have never been so heavy."

Danica Patrick (splash news)

Wynona Judd sang two hymns at the funeral for racer Dan Weldon. Her sister, Ashley Judd, is married to racer Dario Franchitti who was a pallbearer.

UPDATE: 10/17/11  An autopsy on Monday has determined that Dan Wheldon died of blunt force trauma to the head.
The 33-year-old Wheldon was pronounced dead at 1:54 p.m. Sunday at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he was flown by medical helicopter after the crash at the track about 19 kilometers (12 miles) away.

After an autopsy, Murphy ruled the death an accident, the result of blunt trauma to the head due to a motor vehicle collision, and offered condolences to friends and family of the married father of two from England.Wheldon was pronounced dead less than an hour after the fiery crash, which included 15 cars.

I love ALL sports. I, as I've said, will watch anything. But my favorite has and always will be RACING. Nascar, Formula1, Indycar all of them.
On Sunday October 16, 2011, Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after his car became ensnarled in a fiery 15-car pileup on Lap 12, flew over another vehicle and landed in a catch fence just outside turn 2. Dan Wheldon was airlifted from the track to University Medical Center but to no avail.
Oct. 16, 2011, in Las Vegas. (Credit: AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Randy Bernard, IndyCar CEO, came into the press room about two hours later, after his colleagues were told of his death and made the following statement;
"INDYCAR is sad to announce that Dan Wheldon passed away from unsurvivable injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan and his family. INDYCAR, its drivers and teams have decided to end the race. We will run a five-lap salute in honor of Dan."

The race cancelled, drivers, many sobbing openly, took part in a five-lap salute around the oval in honour of one of the sport's biggest stars.

Drivers were fearful of this as many raised concerns of the great speeds, over 225 miles per hour, they were attaining on the only 1.5 mile oval at Las Vegas.

“Within five laps people were starting to do crazy stuff. I want no part of it. This is not a suitable track,” Scottish driver Dario Franchitti said.
Pole-sitter Tony Kanaan labelled it a “potential for disaster”.
“You always worry about that at these speeds on a mile and a half (oval),” Power’s team owner Roger Penske told ESPN.
"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," driver Oriol Servia said. "We knew it could happen, but it's just really sad."

Go-Daddy race car driver Danica Patrick said she was "easing off the throttle" something that race car drivers don't ever want to do but as she said she thought things were getting a little bit crazy and that she felt very uncomfortable and wanted to give herself more breathing space.
Wheldon was expected to replace Danica Patrick next season in the Go-Daddy-sponsored car for Andretti Autosport. Patrick is moving to NASCAR full-time in 2012.
Wheldon married his long-time personal assistant, Susie Behm, in 2008. They had 2 sons: Sebastian, who was born in February 2009, and Oliver, born in March 2011. The family lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. All was at his side at the hospital when he passed away.

Dan was writing a blog for USA Today leading up to the race. He wrote; "This is going to be an amazing show," Wheldon wrote. "The two championship contenders, Dario Franchitti and Will Power, are starting right next to each other in the middle of the grid. Honestly, if I can be fast enough early in the race to be able to get up there and latch onto those two, it will be pure entertainment. It's going to be a pack race, and you never know how that's going to turn out."
The accident spoiled what Bernard had hoped would be a showcase event for the struggling IndyCar Series.
The second-year CEO worked the entire season on turning the finale into a spectacle and said he'd offer his resignation to the IndyCar board of directors if ABC's broadcast didn't pull a .8 ranking. His goal was to improve upon last year's season finale's horrible television rating and give the series some momentum for what's hoped to be a strong season in 2013 with the introduction of a new car and new manufacturers.
So Bernard poured everything into Las Vegas, renting the speedway from owner Bruton Smith and agreeing to promote the event himself. He landed enough sponsorship to at least break even on the race, and the $5 million challenge bought him an enormous amount of publicity the entire year.
The  $5-million challenge to any driver not competing in the series who won the Las Vegas race, dubbed the IZOD IndyCar World Championships together with one lucky fan.

It is a very dangerous sport. Some say that it is meaningless, crazy, way too dangerous and should be done away with. They said that after Nascar great Dale Earnhardt lost his life at Daytona on February 18, 2001. They will say it again now.
The sport has come a long way in safety. They have the best doctors and medical teams in the world that just travel with each racing organization there to help when needed. It's not perfect, nothing is.  

Dan Wheldons Indycar Racing Career:
Races Poles Wins Podiums

Indianapolis 500
133 5 16 27
2 (2005, 2011) 1 (2005)