Las Vegas Tragedy: Dan Wheldon, 1978-2011

“I’ll tell you, I’ve never seen anything like it. The debris we all had to drive through the lap later, it looked like a war scene from Terminator or something. I mean, there were just pieces of metal and car on fire in the middle of the track with no car attached to it and just debris everywhere.” – Ryan Briscoe, Australian Penske Race Car Driver

“It was like a movie scene… It was debris everywhere across the whole track, you could smell the smoke, you could see the billowing smoke on the back straight from the car.” – Danica Patrick, American NASCAR Driver

The tragic events of Sunday, October 16, easily overshadowed everything else in professional sports. This year’s Indianapolis 500 winner, Dan Wheldon, was caught up in a 15-car pile up at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His car flew up over another vehicle, landing some 200 yards ahead in a fiery pile of shattered metal. Two hours later, doctors announced that his injuries were unrecoverable. Dan Wheldon, at age 33, was dead.

Several other drivers were injured in the crash, but understandable attention was given to the significant loss of Wheldon, who also won the Indy 500 in 2005. He is survived by his wife Susie and his two boys, Sebastian and Oliver, all of whom live in St. Petersburg, Florida. Upon the news of his death, IndyCar asked drivers to participate in a five-lap tribute. Each driver left the event with a deep feeling of loss, many who couldn’t hold back the tears.

All of us at the Brace Shop wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Dan Wheldon. His loss will be felt for years to come.

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