Dan Wheldon crash: tragedy on the racetrack proves that sport is no game

LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 16: The car of Dan Wheldon of England driver of the #77 Bowers & Wilkins Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara Honda (left) and the #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara Honda of Pippa Mann fly in the air during the Las Vegas Indy 300 part of the IZOD IndyCar World Championships presented by Honda on October 16, 2011 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dan Wheldon crash: tragedy on the racetrack proves that sport is no game
Tragic loss: Dan Wheldon's death has prompted a national outpouring of grief in the US Photo: AP

From Nevada to Emberton, Wheldon's birthplace in Buckinghamshire, to Korea, where yesterday's Formula One Grand Prix took place, to Tokyo where many of the drivers - including Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button -had flown afterwards; all had their own tribute to pay.
It was a tragic reminder that safety in motor racing can never be guaranteed despite the remarkable improvements in safety.
Wheldon's death will bring the IndyCar series' record under great scrutiny, particularly as he was driving in a $5 million challenge to try to win the race in Vegas from last place on the grid.
"It will be pure entertainment," Wheldon wrote in a blog beforehand. "It's going to be a pack race, and you never know how that's going to turn out."
You never do. It is a source of great pride in Formula One that there has not been a driver fatality since Ayrton Senna's death at Imola in 1994, but this was a reminder of the bravery of every single racing driver.
Wheldon might have been racing in Korea yesterday had his career panned out differently. Just a couple of years older than Button, their early careers ran in parallel.
Wheldon tested for BAR before a lack of funds saw him commit to US racing. He would have been huge in Formula One, too; tall, charismatic, PR savvy.
Ernest Hemingway said there were only three sports: bull-fighting, mountaineering and motor racing. The rest, Hemingway said, were mere games.
Tragedies such as this remind us of the painful truth in that statement.

Dan Wheldon Car Crash Video Depicts Final Moments

LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Video released of the Dan Wheldon crash today showed the tragic final moments before the wreck at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dan Wheldon has died at age 33 after a crash in turn two during Sunday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In a news statement moments ago, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said "our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and team owners, have decided to end the race. In honor of Dan Wheldon, the drivershave decided to do a five lap salute in his honor."
Broadcasters had been airing a live video from inside Dan Wheldon's car moments before the crash. Seconds before the impact, the video feed cut to a shot inside another driver's car. Suddenly, viewers saw smoke appearing in the horizon.
The broadcast then panned to a wide shot to show the path of destruction. The announcers were left speechless. "There is contact, and huge crash up in turn number two! Oh, multiple cars involved. Oh my!" After a moment of silence, the announcer added "It looks like Dan Wheldon might involved in it."
As the cars came to a stop, the other news reporter added "you and I just talked about this morning during the drive in today. Just this amount of cars, the speed, the chance for what they call the "big one"." Later they added"You cannot stop these cars, the only option you have is to avoid it."
The other drivers involved in today's crash included JR Hildebrand (4) , Vitor Meira (14) , Charlie Kimball (83) , Tomas Scheckter (57) , Pippa Mann (30) crashduring Sunday's Izod IndyCar finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Officials confirm to news that roughly fifteen cars crashed after Wheldon went airborne on lap thirteen near turn two today. "IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," Bernard added. Three other drivers suffered injuries included Will Power.
Just days ago, Wheldon was added to the team to develop the online racing game Simraceway. He told news at the time "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."
Wheldon is survived by wife Susie Behm and sons Sebastian and Oliver. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.  Send your love.
Sent from my iPad