Thousands of friends, fans and family turned out in Indianpolis Sunday for a memorial in honor of Dan Wheldon, the IndyCar driver killed in a crash last weekend.

 

IndyCar

IndyCar drivers Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta spoke during the memorial service for IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon in Indianapolis on Sunday.

 Wheldon died last Sunday of injuries sustained in a 15-car pileup at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the IndyCar series finale. His car hit the track's catch fence in the air, and the blunt head trauma resulting from impact led to his death.

Less than a week after Wheldon's death, motorsport suffered another loss when MotoGP driver Marco Simonelli was killed in a crash in Malaysia. There was a moment of silence for Simonelli at Wheldon's memorial.

After a week of mourning for Wheldon, which culminated in his funeral Saturday, about 3,000 people came together to remember him in a memorial that came to focus as much on the laughs as the tears.

At first Dan was pretty much the little brother we didn't want, IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti said, according to The Associated Press.

But Franchitti's light tone immediately turned serious.

And now, he said, we'd do anything to have him back. We'll miss you, D.W.

Tony Kanaan, a fellow driver and former teammate, gave an emotional goodbye to a man he considered a brother.

I'm grateful for the time we got to spend with him on Earth, Kanaan said. Although that time here is done, our time together is not over. We have our memories. We have our feelings. And one day we will be together again.

For that reason, I'm not saying goodbye to Dan. Not today. And not ever. Goodbye is final, and our friendship won't end. So for now, I'm simply saying I'll see you later. I love you.

Wheldon's wife, Susie, attended the memorial but did not speak. She wrote a letter that was displayed on a screen over the stage, accompanied with a photo of her, Dan and the couple's two children after Wheldon won his second Indianapolis 500 race.

Although the last few days have been unbearable for our family, the overwhelming love and support we have received are rays of sunshine during these dark days. I want to thank everyone for their kind notes, letters, gifts and flowers, the message read.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard and Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus both gave eulogies. The memorial lasted 87 minutes, ending with a Garth Brooks song, The Dance.