*Pulled. No more need to see the picture*
Hoping for the best for Dan.
The absolute lack of info from medical by this point is telling. I hope I'm wrong... But you'd expect to hear something even if it was 'critical with life threatening injuries'
Cameras being set up in media center for announcement. My heart just sank.
AshleyJudd ashley judd
@mitchbr2013 The vitals good was what Dario was told.
Let's hope it's positive news for Dan and bad news for the race...
I could care less about bad news about the race. Right now, its all about Dan.
TerryBlountESPN seems to have the quickest info about this situation and he hasn't tweeted in over 20 minutes. Not looking good. Hope I'm wrong.
Chris Hagan says presser about to start.
A scumbag made a tweet making it look like Ashley Judd announced and confirmed Dan's passing. It's not true in case anyone sees it. Ashley has confirmed NOTHING at this point.
Max Papis reporting on Twitter that we've lost Dan. Hoping he saw the bogus Ashley Judd tweet.
Confirmed. I think I'm going to be sick.
The race announcers have announced his passing.
Sad.... Sad.... Sad... Not much to say right now. Here's a great read from just yesterday about Dan. What a difference a day makes. :cry:
LAS VEGAS -- Dan Wheldon strolled into IndyCar's Thursday night poolside hobnob and stole the show. Trendy white T-shirt. Confident smile. A can't-miss look with a beautiful family.
At any moment, Wheldon figures to be named Danica Patrick's replacement in Andretti Autosport's splashy No. 7 car. Given GoDaddy's energy for marketing, it will be the perfect platform for the reigning and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner with mainstream potential.
Seldom has the sport seen a transformation like this. Less than a year ago, Wheldon was left along IndyCar's roadside, unemployed, mostly unwanted and tagged with the oval-track label in a schedule rich with road courses. How would he rebound? Could he?
The 2005 series champion with strained departures from the Ganassi and Panther teams disagrees with the assessment, but he was running low on good options. Put it this way: His choice of IndyCar rides for the 2011 season was with a Firestone Indy Lights team with just a single IndyCar start, a 23rd-place finish in the previous year's 500.
But Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport made it work, winning the 500 with the help of Sam Schmidt Motorsports and its engineer at the time, Allen McDonald. Wheldon's stock hasn't stopped rising since.
Positive media exposure came from testing IndyCar's new car, then IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard chose him for a run at a $5 million bonus in Sunday's Izod World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
That Wheldon already has hit the jackpot is only part of the story. That he appreciates the comeback is why he has become a fan favorite.
"I honestly think (setbacks) teach you to enjoy the good times," he said. "Up until that point, everything had always been good for me. Then I had a difficult part of my career.
"It's come full circle and I've enjoyed it, but you never know. It could change again very quickly in this business."
Wheldon said final details of his Andretti deal still are being worked out, and the timing of a resolution "depends on Michael (Andretti)."
Andretti has been ready to bring Wheldon back since Patrick confirmed her move to NASCAR full time. He said in August that Wheldon was his priority, and he hasn't deviated.
Andretti enjoyed working with Wheldon from 2003-05, including their 500 win and series championship in the final year together, but he's an even bigger fan of Wheldon now.
Wheldon, he said, has become a more mature man through a 2008 marriage to Susie Behm. They have two sons, and the stability has allowed him to improve his approach to fitness, driving and, well, everything.
"He's grown up," Andretti said.
Winning Indy for the second time, along with his summer stint as a television analyst during IndyCar races, has pushed him into the public spotlight like never before, Andretti said.
"His personality has not changed one bit, but he's become the type of guy everyone wants to be around," Andretti said. "I know it's been hard for him not to be racing, but being on TV has allowed people to get to know him and see why it's so easy to like him.
"It's amazing what winning the Indy 500 for a second time has done for him."
Herta wanted Wheldon to return, but his small team couldn't muster the resources. Still, he appreciates the lift Wheldon provided.
"There's probably not anyone (in IndyCar) who wouldn't like to have him at the Speedway," Herta said. "We'd like to have him anywhere because he brought so much leadership to our team.
"I don't know what people thought of him before (May), but if nothing else, you can't question his commitment."
Wheldon insists that joining Herta's team prior to the 500 wasn't a difficult choice. Friendships and trust are that important, he said.
"I knew that Bryan would do everything that he could, and at the end of the day, that's all you can ask for," he said. "I think sometimes you're better to go with people you know and trust than someone you don't know."
Soon, Wheldon's career will be entrusted to Andretti's Indianapolis-based team. They won 11 races and a series championship the last time around. They seek more of the same.
"I feel that for whatever reason, I've been blessed with a second chance," Wheldon said. "I'm going to make the most of it."
I'll be back next season, but it may take a few races.
This is a tough loss for the sport. No doubting Dan belonged in a car and was a great spokesman for Indycar and any team he'd drive for.
It's painful since we KNEW these cars could go airborne and yet we only had to make it through 1 more race with them.
What terrible outcome here, Dan was certainly one of my favorite drivers in the series, and he was an absolute natural in the broadcasting booth earlier in the year and really made those races an interesting listen.
Even more bitter after hearing that he was going to replace Danica next year, and with the new cars coming on line. I think Andretti Green would have had a top driver again and could have put themselves back into contention with Ganassi and Newman Hass.
I wonder if there has ever been an Indy 500 winner in a fatal crash? I hope the speedway does a proper memorial during next years 500.
Absolute tragedy, and up until that point Dan was on a good pace to get his car to the front of the field.
I don't think I've ever experienced a sadder past couple hours as a sports fan. I have been legitimately depressed this entire evening over this. There isn't a personality I've enjoyed more in racing recently than Dan Wheldon. Dan might have been British, but he was a Hoosier in every sense in the he understood what the 500 meant. I hope we erect some sort of a permanent memorial for him at the Speedway, a two time champion deserves at least that. I don't think my mood can be Sunshiner right now. This makes the ******** going on in the NBA lockout look even more ridiculous. They play probably one of the safest sports you can and their quibbling over pennies, ****ing disgusting, but I digress.
Good bye Dan. :sad:
Yes, there has been Indy 500 winners losing their life in the same season. Although none that I can think of in the modern era.
Dan had a really excellent record at the speedway. His 1st win was overshadowed by DanicaMania and Danica leading some meaningless laps towards the end of the race due to pit strategy. But he easily passed her after a few laps when the track went back to green (as did a couple of other cars... which should tell anybody paying attention she was not really in contention for the win).
He almost had a win at Indy for Ganassi but had a cut tire ruin his chances late in the race. Once again, his strength that day got lost in the shuffle when Hornish passed Marco at the stripe for the story of the race which obliterated any talk about Wheldon's strong run and bad luck that day.
Then he had strong finishes there with Panther. And then he won this past May with a headline stealing win of his own with the last lap drama and the his win for the underdog team. That finally got him the recognition and headlines he deserved as one of the historical top tier of Indy 500 drivers that had eluded him.
If we just go through reigning champs who died we have:
Vuky who of course died while leading in what would probably would have been his third straight Indy win.
George Robson in 1946.
Floyd Roberts died in 1939 while attempting to win his second Indy.
Ray Keech died 16 days after winning Indianapolis in 1929.
Frank Lockhart was the reigning champ when he was killed in 1928.
Jimmy Murphy died the September after he won Indy in 1924.
Gaston Chevrolet in 1920.
Dan's blog from USA Today yesterday. The info about the car's handling and speed isn't important... What's important is how professionally he responded to the situation. Nobody was thrown under the bus. No bitterness. No "I" in "team".... Just more evidence of what a sportsman and spokesman Indycar lost today.
So far, things haven't been going very well as we've started our pursuit of the GoDaddy IndyCar Challenge this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but I'm confident in the ability of the guys at Sam Schmidt Motorsports to find the problem and get it fixed.
It's actually been a very difficult weekend for us so far. Basically we carried over our problem from Kentucky Speedway, where we just didn't have the speed and never really found it.
But I've been watching these guys work their tails off trying to fix this problem, and I believe they'll turn it around before Sunday's race. As you know, the Challenge is a rather unique promotion. I'll start 34th in a 34-car field in Sunday's Izod IndyCar World Championships presented by Honda. If I win the race, I'll split a $5 million prize with Ann Babenco of High Bridge, N.J., who was chosen at random.
But during Thursday's practice session and Friday's practice and qualifying sessions, we were quite a bit off the pace in the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins Magnolia/William Rast Dallara/Honda. When I say quite a bit, I mean more than 3 mph off the pace. If we start the race that far off the pace, it's going to be difficult to keep up.
But I have every confidence in Rob Edwards, our team manager, and his group of engineers. Rob has done a very good job of analyzing the problem. He's eliminating issues one by one. Hopefully by the race, we will have changed things enough that we will have discovered what's slowing us down.
It is incredibly frustrating, both for me and them. All the boys are working as hard as possible, but so far we haven't pinpointed what it is. Part of the reason it's so frustrating is because we'd created so much momentum around Indy, both with my victory in Bryan Herta's car and with Alex Tagliani's pole position in the car we're driving this weekend.
But there are a couple of positives. First, this is essentially the same group of people that combined to win the pole and the race at Indy; we've just switched cars. Alex is in the No. 98 car that I drove at Indy, and I'm in the No. 77 he drove to the pole at Indy. Second, and this is key, Alex has been fast in the 98 car so far at Vegas. Very fast. He's got the fourth starting position for Sunday's race, so we know we have the potential for a good car. We just haven't found it yet.
So everybody in our garage is trying their best, and they're going about it methodically and professionally, step by step, trying to get to the bottom of it. It's obviously something significant, because I'm so far off the pace. Alex did a 221.330 mph for his two-lap qualifying run. I barely got over 218. So whatever the problem is, it's significant.
That, too, gives me confidence. A difference that large forces you to look at everything. You're that far off, so you need to change everything. You have to be bold in your changes, and that's what Rob is being. When the difference in speed is small, the problem is harder to find. But we're not a little bit off, so it should be easier to define the problem.
I'm impressed by Rob and his guys and how detailed they're being and how hard they're trying, but it's frustrating for everyone. These guys want to win this challenge just as much as I do, so they're giving it everything they have.
Another good thing is that we have a full day Saturday to work on the problem. Right now, all they need is time to take the car apart and check everything. I'm confident they'll find it and we'll get out there Sunday with a car that can move through the field.
This is going to be an amazing show. 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.
We all know what this team can do, and I know what I can do. At the end of the day, I have every confidence I them. We should be good in the race. They've worked hard at this, and they'll figure it out.
As long as I can find some speed and keep up with the pack, I'll do everything I can to put on a show.
ESPN.com learned from team owner Michael Andretti that just hours prior to Sunday's race, Wheldon signed a multiyear deal to replace Danica Patrick in Andretti Autosport's No. 7 car sponsored by GoDaddy.com.
Wheldon drove for Andretti Autosport from 2003 to 2005, winning the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and series championship. He was part of a powerful, four-car Andretti juggernaut including Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta that won 11 of 17 races during that magical '05 season.
"He was a very close friend and we had just literally inked it this morning," Andretti said. "We had great plans to do fun things together. I'm going to miss him. There was a lot of life in that guy. He was part of the glory days here. We had a combination that has never been put together in the sport of auto racing, in my opinion.
Man, even more depressing now. I don't follow IndyCar hard core like you guys do but I do keep tabs on the race results and point standings. This makes me feeling sad over the lockout and the Colts season seem so insignificant I feel guilty for thinking they were that important. What a terrible day.