By HEATHER WILLIAMS
7:51 PM CDT, October 16, 2011
I should have written this blog two hours ago. But honestly, I've had a hard time coming to grips that this has actually happened. I've cried a lot, spent a lot of time on twitter watching the condolences roll in for his family, poured through photos on the internet. It's just now that it is starting to sink in, Dan Wheldon is no longer with us.
Normally this blog is reserved for NASCAR Sprint Cup stuff only, but I am actually a fan of all kinds of racing. Growing up in the midwest, IndyCar racing (actually CART back then) was the first kind of racing that was on the radar for me. I picked my first favorite NASCAR driver, Casey Mears, because I was such a big fan on his uncle Rick.
I remember when Wheldon first showed up on the IndyCar circut in 2002. As a female racing fan, how could you not fall in love with the Brit? He was handsome, charming and he was fast. I had been searching for a favorite IndyCar driver for a while, by the time he joined Andretti-Green in 2003, my search was over.
By 2005, Wheldon was a full fledged racing superstar. That season he won the Indy 500 and the points championship. Then he moved on the Chip Ganassi Racing. He won the 2006 24 hours of Daytona with Scott Dixon and Casey Mears. I loved all three of those drivers and Im pretty sure I watched almost every minute of that race, for me it was like the dream team.
Wheldon then moved on to Panther Racing, but despite being one of the sports top drivers, found himself with out a full time ride this season. Despite that he won the sports biggest race for a second time in May, driving for Bryan Herta Autosport. Sunday's race was just his third of the season.
His death is heart breaking, not only because he touched so many people in and out of racing. I mean even if you know nothing about racing, you probably know the name Dan Wheldon. But more importantly because he was a husband, father, brother, son and friend to people whose heartbreak is hard to imagine right now.
His smile, his obviously love for this sport, his infectious personality will be missed by us the fans. And I thank him for that. My prayers go to his family and friends.
The sport lost a giant today.
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