IndyCar star Dan Wheldon will be remembered for his competitive spirit and for his outgoing personality, as the driver will be mourned in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Saturday, and will be honored at a public memorial at 4 p.m. on Sunday, at Conseco Fieldhouse, in Indianapolis.
Wheldon, 33, died in a fiery 15-car wreck during Lap 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, as Wheldon's car flew over another vehicle and landed in a catch fence just outside Turn Two.
The Emberton, England-native had won 16 races in his nine-year career, including the Indy 500 in 2005 and 2011, and was considered among the most popular drivers in the sport.
In a statement reported by WTSP, a local station in Tampa, Wheldon's widow, Susie, described the local support rays of sunshine during these dark days.
Dan touched the lives of many people, and I would like to invite those citizens in our community who knew and loved my husband to attend his funeral service, she added.
The outpouring of respect and affection towards Dan Wheldon has spread from throughout the driving community.
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, said Dale Earnhardt Jr. earlier this week. 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.
Wheldon's deadly crash has sparked debate whether 34 cars should be traveling at speeds beyond 220 miles per hour at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas oval. Some notable names in driving have spoken out about IndyCar avoiding oval tracks.
I think between the owners, the drivers in that series, you'll see some big changes coming, said Jeff Gordon, a four-time champion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, on Tuesday. What those changes will be, I'm not sure. Obviously, under current conditions you can't climb a wheel [of another car] at 200-plus mph and get airborne and not expect there to be serious consequences.