Friday, October 21, 2011

Race Fans Will Always Remember Dan Wheldon

Race fans around the world will always remember Indy Car “superstar” Dan Wheldon. I had the privilege to ask some race fans if they were watching the Indy Car World Championship and what was going threw their mind when it was announced that Dan Wheldon had passed way. I also asked race fans if they could share their memories of Dan Wheldon.
“ I was watching the race and I was really sad to hear Dan had passed away. Indy Cars and Oval tracks don’t mix, I hope this doesn’t continue“. - Selina Robison Pennington.
“ I met Dan last year as a guest of Panther Racing at the Barber Motor Sports Park. He was a really great guy. He took the time to talk to everyone of us that was there for the meet and greet. Cheerful, Enthusiastic, Much nicer than I have ever imagined.”- Justin Smith
“My first reaction was pray for those involved, then when they covered his car the tears came, I am still Shook up. God Bless the Racing community and Dan may you rest in peace.” - Nina Leshley
“I was watching the race, and it looked like it was going to be a great one. Then when the wreck happened, I was stunned. A NASCAR restrictor plate style wreck with Indy cars? Cars launching in the air like airplanes? It seemed like an accident from a movie , but it wasn’t, it was real and the worst wreck I have ever seen. I started thinking the worst had happened after none of the drivers would do an interview. Then I got worried, as time passed I got more concerned, then a drivers meeting , it couldn’t be good. Once the meeting was over and they showed Tony Kanaan sitting on the pit wall crying, I realized it had happened.” - Adam Kowalski
“ I really liked Dan, he was one of my favorite Indy Car drivers . I loved it when he won the Indy 500 for the first time for Andretti. I really enjoyed him announcing for VERSUS. He put some much needed life into the Versus booth and I loved when he did the grid run with Robin Miller at Toronto. RIP Dan.” - Adam Kowalski.
Dan touched the lives of so many people and this weekend race fans will get a chance to remember him. Dan’s funeral will be this weekend and a public memorial will also be this weekend.
Funeral services for Dan Wheldon will be held at 10 a.m. (ET) Oct. 22 at First Presbyterian Church of St. Petersburg, 701 Beach Drive N.E. in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Wheldon's wife, Susie, released the following statement to the media on behalf of the family, inviting members of community to attend the service:
"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. The outpouring of sympathy and condolences has been so comforting, and I want to thank everyone for their kind notes, letters, gifts and flowers.
"Dan touched the lives of many people, and I would like to invite those citizens in our community who knew and loved my husband to attend his funeral service at the First Presbyterian Church of St. Petersburg on Saturday, October 22, at 10 a.m.
"Though we won't be able to fit everyone inside, I know that Dan would have wanted the community to share in the celebration of his life and to grieve his passing. Thank you again. I am forever grateful for your kindness."
Race fans will have a chance to remember Indy Car Driver Dan wheldon in a public Memorial. The memorial will take place at Conseco field house, the arena where the Indiana Pacers play their home games. The VERSUS TV Network, ESPNEWS, and will broadcast the service live from 4-5 pm Eastern time on Sunday.
Those wishing to send their sympathy and condolences to the Wheldon family, can address letters to:
The Wheldons
9600 Koger Blvd N, Ste. 105
St Petersburg, FL 33702
The Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fun has been established for the financial security of Wheldon’s family. The Public can make contributions to the Dan Wheldon Family trust at :
Fifth Third Private Bank
Attn: Dan Wheldon Family Trust
251 North Illinois St.
Suite 1000
Indianapolis, IN 46204
R.I.P Dan Wheldon. Race fans around the world will never forget your gorgeous smile, Cheerful mood, and your charming ways. You will NEVER be forgotten.

To see another article about Dan Wheldon  Click Here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Remembering Dan Wheldon

RIP Dan Wheldon (1978-2011).
Dan Wheldon was born in Emberton, near Olney, Buckinghamshire, England. At the age of 4, he started his racing career and was very successful at it. Dan attended Bedford school until he completed his GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) at age 16.
Dan started his racing career with Go- Karts and had funding from his father. He moved to America in 1999, because the level of investment needed to fund his racing career in the UK was beyond his family’s resources. After his move to America, Dan spent several years in lower open wheeled circuits, ( the U.S. F2000 Championship Series, the Toyota Atlantic Series and the Indy Lights Series. ).
In 2002, Wheldon moved up to the IRL ( Indy Car Series) for two events, with Panther Racing. The following year, Wheldon joined Andretti Green Racing.
He won his first IRL race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. He won the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 Indy Car Series Championship. After the 2005 Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick emerged from the race as the biggest star. She was interviewed on Good Morning America the morning after the race, and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Race winner Dan Wheldon wore a t- shirt stating "Actually won the Indy 500."
In November 2005, It was announced that he would be driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Indy Car Series in 2006. Dan won the 24 hours of Daytona endurance sports car race with Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon and NASCAR driver Casey Mears. He began the Indy Car Season strong by beating Helio Castroneves by 0.0147 seconds at Homestead - Miami , a somber race due to the earlier death of Paul Dana in a practice session.
On June 22, 2008,( Dan’s 30th birthday) After he won the 2008 Iowa Corn Indy 250 over Hideki Nutoh and Marco Andretti- He donated his winnings to help victims of the recent tornado’s and flooding which had occurred in Iowa. Wheldon was released from his ride at Ganassi in 2008 and he was replaced by Dario Franchitti. Dan married his long time personal assistant, Susie Behm in 2008.
Wheldon returned to panther racing in 2009 and finished second in the 2009 Indianapolis 500. 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. In February 2009, Dan and Susie Wheldon had there first child, a beautiful baby boy named Sebastian.
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 him 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 Auto sport. He was the first driver in Indy History to win the race by leading a single lap. Rookie JR. Hildebrand was going around the final turn and slammed into the wall, then Wheldon took the lead and claimed the victory. Dan 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 whome he partially dedicated his victory. It was Weldon’s first series win in three seasons. In March of 2011, Dan and Susie Wheldon had there second child, a beautiful baby boy named Oliver. When Dan Wheldon was not racing, he did most of the testing on the new 2012 Indy Car.
Sunday October 16th was the IZOD Indy Car World Championships at Las Vegas Motor speedway. 2 time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after his car became ensnared in a fiery 15-car pileup. His car flew over another vehicle and landed in a catch fence just outside turn 2.Wheldon was airlifted from the track to University Medical Center; about two hours later, his colleagues were told of his death by Indy Car CEO Randy Bernard. The accident appeared to start when Wade Cunningham's car swerved on the track and Hildebrand drove over the left rear of Cunningham's car. Hildebrand appeared to go airborne, and Cunningham's car shot up into the wall, setting off a chain reaction among the cars behind him. Some of those cars slowed, others didn't, and others spun in front of Wheldon and Power. There was so much chaos on the track it was hard to tell who was driving what car. Power appeared to fly over Alex Lloyd's car, rolling into the catch fence and landing on its right side. Wheldon then appeared to drive over a car driven by Toronto's Paul Tracy, who seemed to be slowing down. Wheldon, however, went airborne and spun into the fence. The track was red-flagged following the accidents while crews worked on fences and removed smashed cars. After the tragic death of Dan Wheldon, the drivers decided to cancel the race and honor Wheldon with a 5-lap salute. When the Indy Car drivers returned to the track for the tribute laps, Wheldon's No. 77 was the only one on the towering scoreboard. Franchitti sobbed uncontrollably as he got back into his car for the memorial ride. The sound of "Danny Boy" echoed around the track, followed by "Amazing Grace." Hundreds of crew workers from each team stood at attention in honor of Wheldon. What can you say? We're going to miss him," Ganassi said. "Everybody in Indy Car died a little today.” After his death, Michael Andretti revealed that Wheldon had signed with Andretti Auto sports for a multi-year deal to replace driver Danica Patrick.
  The Indy Car series will never be the same without Dan Wheldon. Family, friends and race fans will always remember his beautiful smile and his charming ways.
Nothing drove me to tears more than what ESPN's Marty Reid had to say at the end of the telecast on Sunday:
"Many people ask me why I always sign off with 'Till we meet again,' because 'goodbye' is always so final. Goodbye, Dan Wheldon."
Rest in peace, Dan. You will never be forgotten.

RIP <3

A memorial site, which includes a Facebook link to leave condolences and remembrances and a career photo retrospective, can be found at





Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kenzie Ruston Makes History In Route to First Career Super Late Model Victory!

Kenzie Ruston with her trophy. (Credit goes
to Kenzie Ruston Racing)
It’s not often in motorsports that a driver can make history, yet alone make history twice in one weekend. That’s exactly what El Reno, Oklahoma’s Kenzie Ruston accomplished at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) this past weekend by qualifying first and going on to win the Seal Wrap 100. With these accomplishments Ruston became the first female to do either in a Champion Racing Association (CRA) event.
The soon-to-be 20-year-old is no stranger to Lucas Oil Raceway as she had previously competed in a CRA event along with an Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) event earlier in the 2011 season at the historical racetrack located in beautiful Indianapolis, IN.
With 37 of the best Super Late Models on hand for the Seal Wrap 100, this was going to be no easy task for the young female sensation.
“It’s overwhelming to know that some of the best in the business are here for this race and we have a legitimate shot to win this race,” said Ruston before she went out for qualifying.
Ruston would immediately jump to the top of the charts with a lap of 21.513-seconds in her No.39 MelMark Pipe & Supply, Ankney Trucking, Racing Electronics Toyota, which was good enough to secure her first career pole position qualifying effort along with making history by becoming the first female to ever do so in a CRA event.
“Anytime you can go to a racetrack and make history it means a lot and to become the first female to accomplish this is awesome. I knew we had a great shot at qualifying on the pole and after my first lap, I looked and saw that it was the fastest and I got very excited.”
In the CRA events, the pole qualifier must pull a pill out of a hat to see how many cars will be inverted before the start of the race. In this case, Ruston pulled the seven-pill meaning she would have to start the 100 lap feature from the seventh position.
“We are going to have to work our way back to the front and be careful in doing so,” said the determined Ruston before the start of the race. “This race is normally filled with cautions. If we can keep our nose clean we should be there at the end to give them a run for their money.”
That was exactly the plan that Ruston and her team put into act as the green flag dropped.
She quickly picked up two spots, putting her in the fifth position and looked to be riding there while the other competitors were battling hard for positions one through four. Several cautions would plague the first part of the race including a red flag at lap 33.
Under the red flag, crew chief Nick Easton and spotter Mike Herman coached Ruston on how she was going to pick off the next few cars and put herself in position to win the race. Once the race went back to green flag conditions, Ruston quickly drove her No. 39 machine to the second spot and found a good pace to ride.
“Midway through the race I knew we had a car to win and we could get to the back bumper of the leader, but couldn’t seem to get around him. We got into a decent pace and I knew that I needed to save as much as possible to be able to run with them at the end, so that’s exactly what we did.”
A caution on lap 79 would set up for a 21-lap shootout to the checkered flag. Ruston planned on giving it all she had and by lap 90 she was within striking distance of the leader and looked to be setting him up for a late-race move.
On lap 97, Ruston would take over the lead and she never looked back.
When the checkered flag feel she had claimed her first career Super Late Model victory and made history again by becoming the first female to ever win a CRA Late Model race.
“This is awesome, I was chasing the leader and thought I could catch him in those last few laps, but I did not know if I could pass him or not.Getting to his bumper may have been all." Ruston commented. 
"It is just incredible to be the first woman to win a CRA Super Series race, just awesome. I can’t put it into words what this win means to me. This team has stuck behind me and never gave up. We have all worked very hard for this day and it feels so great. I can’t thank everyone enough."
Up next for the 20-year-old Oklahoma native is the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” of Winchester Speedway in Winchester, IN for the 40th Annual Winchester 400 on October 14th – 16th.
You can keep up with everything Kenzie by following her racing on twitter @KenzieRuston or on Facebook @Kenzie Ruston Racing. Visit for the latest schedules, news, results, photos, and more. For marketing opportunities please contact John Bowen at 828-446-2698

*Official Kenzie Ruston Racing Press Release*