In the hours after Dan Wheldon was killed in a crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, those involved in NASCAR spoke out about the tragedy.
Wheldon was swept up in a 15 car crash early in the event. His car barrel rolled through the air and hit cockpit side on the catch fence. Wheldon was airlifted to a local hospital where he later died. Monday the Clark County medical examiner performed an autopsy and ruled the death accidental and the cause as a massive head injury.
NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France released a statement late Sunday.
“NASCAR offers its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Dan Wheldon, his teammates, and the entire IndyCar Series community for their tragic loss today. They will be in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”
Also Sunday several drivers used Twitter to express their condolences and others as well as track officials released statements.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Wheldon at the National Guard Youth Challenge dinner about five years ago, and we crossed paths several times since then, mostly through our mutual partnership with the National Guard. His success as a racer speaks for itself, but I will remember him as a true professional who was friendly, respectful, and genuine. On behalf of everyone at JR Motorsports, I send condolences to Dan’s family, team, and friends in the racing community.” — Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“I’m sick at my stomach right now over Dan Wheldon. I just hung out w/ him a month ago and he was such an awesome guy w/ so much life in him.” — Trevor Bayne (via Twitter)
“The loss of Dan Wheldon affects the whole racing community. May all our thoughts and prayers b w his family. He will b missed!” — Kyle Busch (via Twitter)
“I will miss u forever @danwheldon forever.” — Max Papis (via Twitter)
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the Wheldon family… My heart hurts for all of the IRL community.” — Jimmie Johnson (via Twitter)
“Spent a little time with Dan Wheldon several years ago in Paris for Race of Champions. Great guy, great driver. Will certainly b missed.” — Jeff Gordon (via Twitter)
“I have no words, rip dan wheldon, sad day for all Motorsports.” — Regan Smith (via Twitter)
“Life is not fair…. we are gonna miss a really great guy…….. Dan we r gonna miss u…” — Juan Montoya (via Twitter)
“All of us here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are deeply saddened by the death of Dan Wheldon. He was a tremendous race car driver and a great representative for IndyCar racing. Our prayers are with Dan’s family as well as the officials and sponsors of IndyCar.” — Chris Powell, Las Vegas Motor Speedway president
“All of us at Richard Childress Racing are saddened by the loss of Dan Wheldon. Dan was a fierce competitor and a great champion. I had the pleasure of meeting him over the past couple of years and quickly realized what a great ambassador he was for our entire sport. Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.” — Richard Childress, Richard Childress Racing president and CEO.
“We are incredibly saddened at the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great champion of the Indianapolis 500 and a wonderful ambassador for the race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of motorsports. Most importantly, he was a fantastic husband, father and man – a good friend to so many in this sport. His memory will live forever at the Speedway, both through the magnitude of his accomplishments on the track and his magnetism off the track. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his entire family, team and fans.” — Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and CEO
“I am saddened for the entire racing community and all race fans. Dan Wheldon was one of the most personable and friendliest drivers I have ever met in this sport. And he was a passionate, talented and exciting driver whose love of racing really showed. But more than that, he loved his family and our thoughts are with them during this very sad time.” — Roger Curtis, Michigan International Speedway president
“This is a truly heartbreaking loss. Dan Wheldon was a terrific driver and a great champion, but overall he was one of the most engaging, intelligent and colorful individuals in our sport. We were fortunate to work with Dan as a regular promotional partner over the years. We will miss his competitive drive on the track and his energy and sense of humor in the paddock.” — Steve Page, Infineon Raceway president and general manager
“We were saddened to learn of the passing of two-time Kansas Speedway winner Dan Wheldon. Dan exemplified the definition of a champion, both on and off the track. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan’s family, friends and the entire IndyCar Series.” — Patrick Warren, Kansas Speedway president
“We share the sorrow of the IZOD IndyCar Series and motorsports community on the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great friend to Kentucky Speedway and recently lent his personality to promoting this season’s 300-mile event at our track by participating in a Macy’s shopping spree with a youth. An exemplary person and competitor will be sorely missed.” — Mark Simendinger, Kentucky Speedway general manager
“On behalf of the entire staff at Texas Motor Speedway, our sincere condolences go out to Dan’s wife Susie and their two young boys, Oliver and Sebastian. Dan was a tremendous race-car driver and even more tremendous as a person. I was fortunate to get to know Dan over the years with the series annually visiting Texas Motor Speedway and he always arrived with that infectious personality and charming wit. His outstanding skill in the cockpit and his personality and good nature out of it will be greatly missed by the entire IndyCar community.” — Eddie Gossage, Texas Motor Speedway president
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