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NASCAR reacts to death of IndyCar's Wheldon

October 17, 2011, Official Release, NASCAR.com



NASCAR reacts to death of IndyCar's Wheldon

Following the tragic death of reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon, 33, in a crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France released the following statement:

"NASCAR offers its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Dan Wheldon, his teammates, and the entire IndyCar Series community for their tragic loss today. They will be in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time."

Members of the NASCAR community offered their condolences to the Wheldon family.

"We are all very sad. He is a friend of all of ours. He will be missed. I just feel for his family." -- Danica Patrick

"I'm angry. I'm sad. I'm so many things. I feel like everything is wrong. I'm gonna remember really good things from him at Indy. He's my little brother from another mother. I just can't believe it." -- Alex Tagliani

"Days like today, you're like, 'Is it worth it? No, absolutely not.' But we push each other, and we push ourselves and we push our team to win these races and championships and it's what drives us forward and its what we love and then you see that happen to Dan and you just go, it doesn't matter." -- Dario Franchitti

"Today was a reminder to all of us what can happen every time we strap in behind the wheel. At times I think we all take things for granted. Life shouldn't be one of those things. We lost a great driver in motorsports and he will not be forgotten. Rest in peace Dan Wheldon." -- Denny Hamlin (via Twitter)

"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. 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." -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the Wheldon family... My heart hurts for all of the IRL community." -- Jimmie Johnson (via Twitter)

"I'm sick at my stomach right now over Dan Wheldon. I just hung out w/ him a month ago and he was such an awesome guy w/ so much life in him." -- Trevor Bayne (via Twitter)

"The loss of Dan Wheldon affects the whole racing community. May all our thoughts and prayers b w his family. He will b missed!" -- Kyle Busch (via Twitter)

"I will miss u forever @danwheldon forever." -- Max Papis (via Twitter)

"Spent a little time with Dan Wheldon several years ago in Paris for Race of Champions. Great guy, great driver. Will certainly b missed." -- Jeff Gordon (via Twitter)

"I have no words, rip dan wheldon, sad day for all Motorsports." -- Regan Smith (via Twitter)

"Life is not fair.... we are gonna miss a really great guy........ Dan we r gonna miss u..." -- Juan Montoya (via Twitter)

"My prayers are with Dan Wheldons family, friends and team...my heart breaks all over again each and every time our sport loses someone..." -- Kyle Petty (via Twitter)

"Today was a sad day for IndyCar and the IndyCar family. Dan was a Champion, a wonderful young man and a terrific competitor. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Susie, his children and his entire family." -- Roger Penske

"What can you say? He was such a big presence in our sport and quite a talent. Today we lost a little bit of IndyCar. He raced here for us for three years, won six races and made many friends - the whole Chip Ganassi Racing organization mourns his passing. My thoughts and prayers go out to Susie, the boys and the whole Wheldon family." -- Chip Ganassi

"All of us at Richard Childress Racing are saddened by the loss of Dan Wheldon. Dan was a fierce competitor and a great champion. I had the pleasure of meeting him over the past couple of years and quickly realized what a great ambassador he was for our entire sport. Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends." -- Richard Childress, Richard Childress Racing president and CEO.

"All of us here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are deeply saddened by the death of Dan Wheldon. He was a tremendous race car driver and a great representative for IndyCar racing. Our prayers are with Dan's family as well as the officials and sponsors of IndyCar." -- Chris Powell, Las Vegas Motor Speedway president

"We are incredibly saddened at the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great champion of the Indianapolis 500 and a wonderful ambassador for the race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of motorsports. Most importantly, he was a fantastic husband, father and man - a good friend to so many in this sport. His memory will live forever at the Speedway, both through the magnitude of his accomplishments on the track and his magnetism off the track. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his entire family, team and fans." -- Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and CEO

"I am saddened for the entire racing community and all race fans. Dan Wheldon was one of the most personable and friendliest drivers I have ever met in this sport. And he was a passionate, talented and exciting driver whose love of racing really showed. But more than that, he loved his family and our thoughts are with them during this very sad time." -- Roger Curtis, Michigan International Speedway president

"This is a truly heartbreaking loss. Dan Wheldon was a terrific driver and a great champion, but overall he was one of the most engaging, intelligent and colorful individuals in our sport. We were fortunate to work with Dan as a regular promotional partner over the years. We will miss his competitive drive on the track and his energy and sense of humor in the paddock." -- Steve Page, Infineon Raceway president and general manager

"We were saddened to learn of the passing of two-time Kansas Speedway winner Dan Wheldon. Dan exemplified the definition of a champion, both on and off the track. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan's family, friends and the entire IndyCar Series." -- Patrick Warren, Kansas Speedway president

"We share the sorrow of the IZOD IndyCar Series and motorsports community on the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great friend to Kentucky Speedway and recently lent his personality to promoting this season's 300-mile event at our track by participating in a Macy's shopping spree with a youth. An exemplary person and competitor will be sorely missed." -- Mark Simendinger, Kentucky Speedway general manager

"On behalf of the entire staff at Texas Motor Speedway, our sincere condolences go out to Dan's wife Susie and their two young boys, Oliver and Sebastian. Dan was a tremendous race-car driver and even more tremendous as a person. I was fortunate to get to know Dan over the years with the series annually visiting Texas Motor Speedway and he always arrived with that infectious personality and charming wit. His outstanding skill in the cockpit and his personality and good nature out of it will be greatly missed by the entire IndyCar community." -- Eddie Gossage, Texas Motor Speedway president