Indycar star Dan Wheldon was honored at a public funeral on Saturday in his hometown St Petersburg, Florida.
Wheldon, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, died of head injuries as a result of a fiery 15-car pileup at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16.
Hundreds of people mourned for Wheldon's death at First Presbyterian Church,
Though we won't be able to fit everyone inside, I know that Dan would have wanted the community to share in the celebration of his life and to grieve his passing, his wife, Susie Wheldon, said in a statement.
Wheldon's father carried his racing helmet, and IndyCar drivers Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan served as pallbearers.
A letter written by Susie was read aloud by a close family friend Michael Johnson.
My sweet Dan, my whole body is aching, down to the deepest part of my soul, Susie Wheldon wrote.
I am so scared. Scared I'm going to forget things as time goes by: the way you smell, the sound of your voice, the touch of your hand.
No eyes were left dry as Wheldon's wife of three years and a half expressed her grief.
I can still feel your love around me, she wrote. Not even death can take that away.
You are a true lionheart, and I will never forget our final moments together as you climbed into your car... You are part of my soul until eternity.
Wheldon, 33, left behind two sons in addition to his wife: Sebastian, 2, and Oliver, 7 months.
What defined Dan Wheldon was not just victories and the accolates, said IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said according to CNN. Rather, it was his strong character, his enthusiastic approach to life, and the love of family, friends and fans.
At the funeral, country singer Wynonna Judd Johnson, along with church choir, sang Amazing Grace and I Can Only Imagine as she held a tissue in her hand.
A memorial service was held on Sunday, lasting for one and a half hour as Wheldon's former teammates, close friends and business associates attended. The memorial service is a collective effort of the racing news media, and is streamed live online and on U.S. TV cable channels.
Speakers shared thoughts, memories, laughter and tears, and many anecdotes centered on Wheldon's skill as a driver, zest for life and practical jokes, love of family and friends, and obsession with neatness, according to Indianapolis Motor Speedway's website.
The deadly crash started when Wade Cunningham's car swerved on the track and Hildebrand drove over the left rear of Cunningham's car, according to CBS News. A chain reaction of spinning followed, and Wheldon drove right into the chaos. Unable to steer out of the wreck, Wheldon's car up over Paul Tracy's vehicle, slammed into the fence and flipped over and eventually, burst into flames.
It looks to me as though he just couldn't stop, Jon Wertheim, senior writer for Sports Illustrated told CNN. Look how close the cars are bunched together -- 220 miles an hour, inches separating them.
After the crash, Wheldon was airlifted from the track to University Medical Center and his colleagues learned of his death two hours later.
This was the first fatal crash in IndyCar since Paul Dana's death at Homestead in 2006.
Wheldon's death has stirred controversy on the safety of the track at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
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 told ESPN. We knew if could happen, but it's just really sad.
The accident was potentially exacerbated by the track itself, that was advertised as unusually fast and smooth in promotional materials.
The crash will be investigated by two auto-racing organizations, FIA and Automobile Competition Committee, according to IndyCar's announcement.