Daniel Clive Wheldon (1978 - 2011) MP

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Nicknames: "Dan Wheldon"
Birthplace: Emberton, Buchingham, England
Death: Died in Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, USA
Cause of death: auto racing accident
Occupation: race car driver, consultant, TV comentator
Managed by: Eldon Clark (C)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • Susie
      wife
    • Minor Child
      son
    • Minor Child
      son
    • Susan
      mother
    • Clive
      father
    • Ashley
      brother
    • Austen
      brother
    • Holly
      sister
    • Elliott
      brother

About Daniel Clive Wheldon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Daniel Clive "Dan" Wheldon (22 June 1978 – 16 October 2011)

He was an English racing driver. He was the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion, and winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and 2011. Wheldon died from injuries shortly after a collision at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on 16 October 2011, at the age of 33.

 

Beginnings

Wheldon, who was born in Emberton, near Olney, Buckinghamshire, England, took up karting at the age of four with funding from his father, he progressed through the junior ranks of motor racing during his school years. Attending Bedford School until he completed his GCSEs at age 16, he frequently took time off to race. During his early career in open wheel racing, he developed a rivalry with Jenson Button before ultimately leaving the United Kingdom to race in America. The reasoning behind the move was that the level of investment needed to fund his racing career in the UK was beyond his family's resources.[1] Moving to the United States in 1999, he spent several years in lower open-wheeled circuits like the U.S. F2000 Championship Series, the Toyota Atlantic series and the Indy Lights series.

In 2002, Wheldon moved up to the IRL IndyCar Series for two events, with Panther Racing as teammate to Sam Hornish, Jr.. The following year Wheldon joined Andretti Green Racing, taking the spot of Michael Andretti following his retirement, and collected league Rookie of the Year honours. In 2004, he won his first IRL race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, ultimately finishing as runner-up to teammate Tony Kanaan in the championship with three wins.

He won the 2005 Indianapolis 500 as well as that season's IndyCar Series championship. His six victories in 2005 also broke the record for most victories in one season (under IRL sanction), previously held by Sam Hornish, Jr. with 5. His win at Indy was the first for an Englishman since Graham Hill's triumph in 1966. In November 2005, it was announced that he would be driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series in 2006. Shortly after his first test with Ganassi, he won the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance sports car race with Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon and Ganassi NASCAR driver Casey Mears.

He began the IndyCar season by beating Hélio Castroneves by 0.0147 seconds at Homestead-Miami, a somber race due to the earlier death of Paul Dana in a practice session. Wheldon retired at St. Petersburg thanks to contact with Sam Hornish, Jr. during a caution period. At the end of the 2006 IndyCar season, Wheldon and Hornish were tied for the lead with each driver having 475 points. In the event of a tie, the driver with the most wins for that particular season is declared the champion. Hornish had four wins for the 2006 season, to Wheldon's two; therefore Hornish was declared the 2006 IndyCar champion.

During the close season he was offered a place in the BMW Sauber Formula One team, but declined on discovering he would not be assured a regular drive. "I do want to race in F1. When my contract expires with Chip, I’ll take a serious look at Formula One".

Commenting in 2007 on the perception of him as 'difficult', Wheldon said "I put everything into my racing, and I expect the same back. If I see people who aren't giving it I'm not afraid to say so, but that sometimes comes out a little brash. That could be improved a little bit."

On 22 June 2008, his 30th birthday, he took his 15th career victory in the IndyCar Series after winning the 2008 Iowa Corn Indy 250 over Hideki Mutoh and Marco Andretti. He donated his winnings to help the victims of the recent tornadoes and flooding which had occurred in Iowa.

Wheldon was released from his drive at Ganassi on 2 September 2008.[4] He was replaced by Dario Franchitti; "I have enjoyed these last three seasons with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, but will be moving on to pursue a very exciting opportunity for 2009," Wheldon said. It would later turn out to be a return to former team Panther Racing.[5] Wheldon drove the Panther car to a second place finish in the 2009 Indianapolis 500, the second Indy 500 runner-up finish in a row for the team. However, his strong start to the season faded and Wheldon failed to crack the Top 10 in 7 of the last 8 races of the year. The following year Wheldon again showed strong at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, finishing second at the 2010 Indianapolis 500. This gave Panther its third straight runner-up finish at Indy. This time, Wheldon remained competitive all year, challenging for wins on the oval tracks.

Despite strong showings in the Panther Racing No. 4 car, Wheldon still failed to win a race during his time with the team. This led to his being replaced at Panther Racing by the young American driver (and 2009 Indy Lights champion) J.R. Hildebrand. Wheldon attempted and won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with Bryan Herta Autosport in stunning and ironic fashion after inheriting the lead with metres to go after Hildebrand wrecked going into the final turn trying to get around the decelerating Charlie Kimball with too much velocity, being the first driver in Indy history to win the race by leading a single lap.[6] Wheldon was very emotional after the win, due to not having a ride for the rest of the season and concerning his mother who had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, to whom he partially dedicated his victory. It was Wheldon's first series win in three seasons.

Personal life

Wheldon married his long-time personal assistant, Susie Behm, in 2008. They had 2 sons: Sebastian, who was born in February 2009, and Oliver, born in March 2011. The family lived in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Death

Fatal crash At the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on 16 October 2011, Wheldon was involved in a 15-car accident during lap 11 of the race. The multi-car pile-up resulted in a red flag. Wheldon had to be extricated from his car and was airlifted to a local hospital with what were described as "serious injuries." He subsequently died of his injuries. He was 33 years old.

It was decided by the IndyCar officials and drivers that the race would be abandoned, and that a five-lap salute would be held in his honour, with Wheldon's number 77 being displayed alone at the top of the scoring pylon.

After his death, Michael Andretti revealed that Wheldon had signed with Andretti Racing for a multi-year deal to replace driver Danica Patrick.

Other projects

Dan Wheldon was a guest star in the voice cast for the TV series Hot Wheels Battle Force 5.

On 9 August 2011, Ignite Game Technologies announced that Wheldon would assist the physics development for its online auto racing game, Simraceway. Wheldon commented "It was pretty obvious that Ignite was not looking to build just another racing game, so the opportunity to influence Simraceway's physics directly was pretty appealing." It later emerged Wheldon would also be playing an role in the company’s performance driving center at Infineon Raceway. Motorsports career results American open–wheel racing results

(key)

Indy Lights

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Rank Points 2001 PacWest Lights Mexico MTY 5 United States LBH 2 United States TXS 10 United States MIL 3 United States POR 10 United States KAN 3 Canada TOR 7 United States MDO 2 United States STL 1 United States ATL 1 United States LS 5 United States FON 2 2nd 149 IndyCar Series Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Rank Points 2002 Panther Racing United States HMS United States PHX United States FON United States NZR United States INDY United States TXS United States PPIR United States RIR United States KAN United States NSH United States MIS United States KTY United States STL United States CHI 10 United States TX2 15 36th 35 2003 Andretti Green Racing United States HMS United States PHX Japan MOT 7 United States INDY 19 United States TXS 20 United States PPIR 19 United States RIR 8 United States KAN 21 United States NSH 4 United States MIS 20 United States STL 5 United States KTY 8 United States NZR 7 United States CHI 4 United States FON 4 United States TX2 3 11th 312 2004 Andretti Green Racing United States HMS 3 United States PHX 3 Japan MOT 1 United States INDY 3 United States TXS 13 United States RIR 1 United States KAN 9 United States NSH 13 United States MIL 18 United States MIS 3 United States KTY 3 United States PPIR 3 United States NZR 1 United States CHI 4 United States FON 3 United States TX2 3 2nd 533 2005 Andretti Green Racing United States HMS 1 United States PHX 6 United States STP 1 Japan MOT 1 United States INDY 1 United States TXS 6 United States RIR 5 United States KAN 2 United States NSH 21 United States MIL 5 United States MIS 2 United States KTY 3 United States PPIR 1 United States SNM 18 United States CHI 1 United States WGL 5 United States FON 6 1st 618 2006 Chip Ganassi Racing United States HMS 1 United States STP 16 Japan MOT 2 United States INDY 4 United States WGL 15 United States TXS 3 United States RIR 9 United States KAN 2 United States NSH 2 United States MIL 8 United States MIS 3 United States KTY 4 United States SNM 6 United States CHI 1 2nda 475 2007 Chip Ganassi Racing United States HMS 1 United States STP 9 Japan MOT 2 United States KAN 1 United States INDY 22 United States MIL 3 United States TXS 15 United States IOW 11 United States RIR 3 United States WGL 7 United States NSH 8 United States MDO 10 United States MIS 12 United States KTY 17 United States SNM 7 United States DET 3 United States CHI 13 4th 466 2008 Chip Ganassi Racing United States HMS 3 United States STP 12 Japan MOT1 4 United States LBH1 DNP United States KAN 1 United States INDY 12 United States MIL 4 United States TXS 4 United States IOW 1 United States RIR 4 United States WGL 24 United States NSH 2 United States MDO 17 Canada EDM 7 United States KTY 5 United States SNM 4 United States DET 20 United States CHI 6 4th 492 Panther Racing Australia SRF2 11 2009 Panther Racing United States STP 14 United States LBH 5 United States KAN 10 United States INDY 2 United States MIL 10 United States TXS 7 United States IOW 4 United States RIR 10 United States WGL 10 Canada TOR 14 Canada EDM 15 United States KTY 11 United States MDO 16 United States SNM 12 United States CHI 22 Japan MOT 8 United States HMS 21 10th 354 2010 Panther Racing Brazil SAO 5 United States STP 20 United States ALA 11 United States LBH 9 United States KAN 15 United States INDY 2 United States TXS 9 United States IOW 11 United States WGL 6 Canada TOR 10 Canada EDM 20 United States MDO 14 United States SNM 25 United States CHI 2 United States KTY 3 Japan MOT 10 United States HMS 9 9th 388 2011 BHA with Curb Agajanian Sam Schmidt Motorsports United States STP United States ALA United States LBH Brazil SAO United States INDY 1 United States TXS1 United States TXS2 United States MIL United States IOW Canada TOR Canada EDM United States MDO United States NWH United States SNM United States BAL Japan MOT 28th 75 Sam Schmidt Motorsports United States KTY 14 United States LVS

a Wheldon lost the title on the tiebreaker – he won only two races compared to Sam Hornish, Jr.'s four after the two tied on 475 points

   1 Run on same day
   2 Non-points race

Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums (Non-win)** Top 10s (Non-podium)*** Indianapolis 500 Wins Championships 10 5 133 5 16 27 50 2 (2005, 2011) 1 (2005) ** Podium (Non-win) indicates 2nd or 3rd place finishes. *** Top 10s (Non-podium) indicates 4th through 10th place finishes.

Indianapolis 500

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team Summary 2003 Dallara Honda 5 19 Andretti Green Wrecked in turn 4, flipped 2004 Dallara Honda 2 3 Andretti Green Running 2005 Dallara Honda 16 1 Andretti Green Running; 157.603 mph 2006 Dallara Honda 3 4 Chip Ganassi Racing Running 2007 Dallara Honda 6 22 Chip Ganassi Racing Crashed on backstretch 2008 Dallara Honda 2 12 Chip Ganassi Racing Running 2009 Dallara Honda 18 2 Panther Racing Running 2010 Dallara Honda 18 2 Panther Racing Running 2011 Dallara Honda 6 1 Bryan Herta Autosport Running; 170.265 mph

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Dan Wheldon's Timeline

1978
June 22, 1978
Emberton, Buchingham, England
2008
2008
Age 29
2011
October 16, 2011
Age 33
Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, USA