Dan Wheldon

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Dan Wheldon
Dan Wheldon 2.jpg
Wheldon in Washington, D.C. in February 2010
NationalityBritish
Born(1978-06-22)22 June 1978
Emberton, Buckinghamshire, England
Died16 October 2011(2011-10-16) (aged 33)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
IRL IndyCar Series
Years active2002–2011
TeamsChip Ganassi Racing
Andretti Green Racing
Panther Racing
Bryan Herta Autosport
Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Starts128
Wins16
Poles5
Best finish1st in 2005
Previous series
2005–2008
2001
2000
1999
Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series
Indy Lights
Toyota Atlantic Championship
U.S. F2000 National Championship
Championship titles
2005
1999
IndyCar Series Champion
U.S. F2000 National Championship
Awards
2003
2005
2006
2011
IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year
Indianapolis 500 Winner
24 Hours of Daytona Winner
Indianapolis 500 Winner
IndyCar Series Most Popular Driver (after his death)

Daniel Clive Wheldon (22 June 1978 – 16 October 2011) was a British motor racing driver. He was the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion. He was also the winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and 2011. He was killed at the age of 33, in a 15-car crash at the IZOD IndyCar World Championship.[1][2]

Early life and start of career[change | change source]

Wheldon was born in Emberton, near Olney, Buckinghamshire, England. He started go-kart racing at the age of four. At the beginning of his career in open wheel racing, he had a rivalry with Jenson Button before he left the United Kingdom to start racing in the United States. He moved to the U.S. because he thought the chance for success there were greater than in the UK.[3] He moved to the United States in 1999. He spent many years racing in lower open-wheeled circuits like the U.S. F2000 Championship Series, the Toyota Atlantic series and the Indy Lights series before moving to a higher series.

IRL IndyCar Series[change | change source]

In 2002, Wheldon moved up to the IRL IndyCar Series for two races. He drove for Panther Racing with his teammate Sam Hornish Jr. In 2003, he joined Andretti Green Racing, winning the Rookie of the Year award. In 2004, he won his first IRL race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. He finished the 2004 season second in points with three wins.

In 2005, Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500. He finished the season first in points winning the IndyCar Series championship. He won six races during the season, breaking the record for most victories in one season.[4] In November 2005, it was made known that Wheldon would be driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series in 2006. He went on to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona, winning the race with Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon and Ganassi NASCAR driver Casey Mears.[5]

Wheldon began the 2006 IndyCar season by winning the race at Homestead–Miami Speedway. This was a sombre race, as Paul Dana had died earlier while practising for the race.[6] At the end of the 2006 IndyCar season, he and Sam Hornish Jr. were tied for the lead in the points. They both had 475 points. Hornish had four wins for the 2006 season, and Wheldon only had two. Because Hornish had more wins than Wheldon, he was made the 2006 Indy Car Champion.[7]

The BMW Sauber Formula One team gave Wheldon the chance to drive for them, but he turned down their offer. They could not give him a ride for the whole season, so he decided to continue to focus on Indy.[8]

Practising for the 2007 Indianapolis 500.

On 22 June 2008, Wheldon won his 15th IndyCar Series race in the Iowa Corn Indy 250. He donated all of the money he won to help the victims of the tornadoes and flooding which had just happened in Iowa.[9]

On 2 September 2008, Wheldon left Chip Ganassi Racing.[10] He was replaced by Dario Franchitti. He had chosen to return to Panther Racing.[11] He finished second in the 2009 Indianapolis 500. However, Wheldon did not finish in the top 10 in seven of the last eight races of the year. The next year, he ran well again at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, finishing second. He finished the 2009 season 9th in the series points.[12] He ran well with Panther racing in 2009 but he did not win a race during his time with the team. Panther Racing decided to replace Wheldon with J. R. Hildebrand. He raced in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with Bryan Herta Autosport, winning the race after J. R. Hildebrand crashed going into the final turn.[13] He was very emotional after winning the race. He did not have a ride for the rest of the season. He was also worried about his mother who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He dedicated his win to his mother.[14] It was his first series win in three seasons.[15]

Death[change | change source]

On 16 October 2011, Wheldon was part of a 15-car wreck on lap 11 of the IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His car went into the air and hit the catch fence. He was taken by helicopter to the hospital. When he was taken to the hospital, he was declared dead from blunt force trauma to the head. He was 33. He is buried at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Clearwater, Florida.[1][2]

Other appearances[change | change source]

Wheldon was a guest star in the voice cast for the TV series Hot Wheels Battle Force 5.[16]

Personal life[change | change source]

Wheldon married his long-time personal assistant, Susie Behm, in 2008. The couple had two sons, Sebastian (born 1 February 2009) and Oliver (born 19 March 2011). His family lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.[17]

Motorsports career results[change | change source]

IndyCar Series[change | change source]

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Rank Points
2002 Panther Racing United States
HMS
United States
PHX
United States
FON
United States
NZR
United States
INDY
United States
TXS
United States
PPIR
United States
RIR
United States
KAN
United States
NSH
United States
MIS
United States
KTY
United States
STL
United States
CHI
10
United States
TXS
15
36th 35
2003 Andretti Green Racing United States
HMS
United States
PHX
Japan
MOT
7
United States
INDY
19
United States
TXS
20
United States
PPIR
19
United States
RIR
8
United States
KAN
21
United States
NSH
4
United States
MIS
20
United States
STL
5
United States
KTY
8
United States
NZR
7
United States
CHI
4
United States
FON
4
United States
TX2
3
11th 312
2004 Andretti Green Racing United States
HMS
3
United States
PHX
3
Japan
MOT
1
United States
INDY
3
United States
TXS
13
United States
RIR
1
United States
KAN
9
United States
NSH
13
United States
MIL
18
United States
MIS
3
United States
KTY
3
United States
PPIR
3
United States
NZR
1
United States
CHI
4
United States
FON
3
United States
TX2
3
2nd 533
2005 Andretti Green Racing United States
HMS
1
United States
PHX
6
United States
STP
1
Japan
MOT
1
United States
INDY
1
United States
TXS
6
United States
RIR
5
United States
KAN
2
United States
NSH
21
United States
MIL
5
United States
MIS
2
United States
KTY
3
United States
PPIR
1
United States
SNM
18
United States
CHI
1
United States
WGL
5
United States
FON
6
1st 618
2006 Chip Ganassi Racing United States
HMS
1
United States
STP
16
Japan
MOT
2
United States
INDY
4
United States
WGL
15
United States
TXS
3
United States
RIR
9
United States
KAN
2
United States
NSH
2
United States
MIL
8
United States
MIS
3
United States
KTY
4
United States
SNM
6
United States
CHI
1
2nda 475
2007 Chip Ganassi Racing United States
HMS
1
United States
STP
9
Japan
MOT
2
United States
KAN
1
United States
INDY
22
United States
MIL
3
United States
TXS
15
United States
IOW
11
United States
RIR
3
United States
WGL
7
United States
NSH
8
United States
MDO
10
United States
MIS
12
United States
KTY
17
United States
SNM
7
United States
DET
3
United States
CHI
13
4th 466
2008 Chip Ganassi Racing United States
HMS
3
United States
STP
12
Japan
|MOT1
4
United States
LBH1
DNP
United States
KAN
1
United States
INDY
12
United States
MIL
4
United States
TXS
4
United States
IOW
1
United States
RIR
4
United States
WGL
24
United States
NSH
2
United States
MDO
17
Canada
EDM
7
United States
KTY
5
United States
SNM
4
United States
DET
20
United States
CHI
6
4th 492
Panther Racing Australia
SRF2
11
2009 Panther Racing United States
STP
14
United States
LBH
5
United States
KAN
10
United States
INDY
2
United States
MIL
10
United States
TXS
7
United States
IOW
4
United States
RIR
10
United States
WGL
10
Canada
TOR
14
Canada
EDM
15
United States
KTY
11
United States
MDO
16
United States
SNM
12
United States
CHI
22
Japan
MOT
8
United States
HMS
21
10th 354
2010 Panther Racing Brazil
SAO
5
United States
STP
20
United States
ALA
11
United States
LBH
9
United States
KAN
15
United States
INDY
2
United States
TXS
9
United States
IOW
11
United States
WGL
6
Canada
TOR
10
Canada
EDM
20
United States
MDO
14
United States
SNM
25
United States
CHI
2
United States
KTY
3
Japan
MOT
10
United States
HMS
9
9th 388
2011 BHA with Curb Agajanian
Sam Schmidt Motorsports
United States
STP
United States
ALA
United States
LBH
Brazil
SAO
United States
INDY
1
United States
TXS1
United States
TXS2
United States
MIL
United States
IOW
Canada
TOR
Canada
EDM
United States
MDO
United States
NWH
United States
SNM
United States
BAL
Japan
MOT
28th 75
Sam Schmidt Motorsports United States
KTY
14
United States
LVS3
Canc
a Wheldon lost the title on the tiebreaker. Wheldon won only two races while Sam Hornish Jr. won four, giving him the championship.
1 Run on same day
2 Non-points race
3 Event cancelled after a 15-car incident on Lap 11 involving Wheldon, who later died from his injuries.
Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums
(non-win)**
Top 10s
(non-podium)***
Indianapolis 500
wins
Championships
10 5 133 5 16 27 50 2 (2005, 2011) 1 (2005)
** Podium (non-win) means 2nd or 3rd place finishes.
*** Top 10s (non-podium) means 4th through 10th place finishes.

Indianapolis 500[change | change source]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team Summary
2003 Dallara Honda 5 19 Andretti Green Wrecked in turn 4, flipped
2004 Dallara Honda 2 3 Andretti Green Running
2005 Dallara Honda 16 1 Andretti Green Running; 157.603 mph
2006 Dallara Honda 3 4 Chip Ganassi Racing Running
2007 Dallara Honda 6 22 Chip Ganassi Racing Crashed on backstretch
2008 Dallara Honda 2 12 Chip Ganassi Racing Running
2009 Dallara Honda 18 2 Panther Racing Running
2010 Dallara Honda 18 2 Panther Racing Running
2011 Dallara Honda 6 1 Bryan Herta Autosport Running; 170.265 mph

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Briton Dan Wheldon dies in IndyCar race in Las Vegas". BBC Sports. BBC. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Dan Wheldon dies in huge crash at IndyCar finale". USA Today. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  3. Viner, Brian (25 May 2007). "Dan Wheldon: 'Winning at Monaco would be great, but it's nothing next to the Indy 500'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  4. "Dan Wheldon: a career in pictures". The Guardian. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  5. Salisbury, Matt (30 January 2006). "Grand-Am: Ganassi secure maiden Rolex 24 win". Crash. Archived from the original on 18 December 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  6. Biebrich, Richard (27 March 2006). "A Driver's Duel". Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on 18 December 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. "Dan's race, Sam's title". Eurosport. 10 September 2006. Archived from the original on 18 December 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. Himmer, Alastair (18 April 2006). "Wheldon turned down BMW F1 offer". Autosport. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  9. Simmons, Marcus (17 October 2011). "Dan Wheldon: 1978 - 2011". Autosport. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  10. Perez, A.J. (3 September 2008). "Goodbye NASCAR: Franchitti headed back to IndyCar Series". USA Today. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  11. Lewandowski, Dave (9 February 2011). "Wheldon, super hero of Battle Force 5". IndyCar Series. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. "2009 IZOD IndyCar Series Point Standings". Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  13. "Britain's Dan Wheldon wins second Indy500 after rival's late crash". The Guardian. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  14. "Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon enjoys moment in spotlight". USA Today. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  15. "Dan Wheldon gets stunning Indy win". ESPN. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  16. Lewandowski, Dave (9 February 2011). "Wheldon, super hero of Battle Force 5". IndyCar Series. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  17. DeGregory, Lane (17 March 2017). "Susie Wheldon, wife of late IndyCar champion Dan Wheldon, opens up about life without him". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 24 March 2019.

Other websites[change | change source]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Laurent Redon
IndyCar Series
Rookie of the Year

2003
Succeeded by
Kosuke Matsuura
Preceded by
Buddy Rice
Indianapolis 500 Winner
2005
Succeeded by
Sam Hornish Jr.
Preceded by
Tony Kanaan
IRL IndyCar Series Champion
2005
Succeeded by
Sam Hornish Jr.
Preceded by
Dario Franchitti
Indianapolis 500 Winner
2011
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Awards
Preceded by
Mark Webber
Autosport
Rookie of the Year

2003
Succeeded by
A. J. Allmendinger
Preceded by
Andy Priaulx
Autosport
British Competition Driver of the Year

2005
Succeeded by
Jenson Button