5 Years Later….Gone but Not Forgotten Dan Wheldon

 

It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since Dan Wheldon came off of turn 4 and passed JR Hildebrand on his way to his 2nd Indianapolis 500 victory.  Wheldon was running all day in the top 15 and started making his charge up to the front in the last 20 laps.  Right Place…Right Time.

The question that was brought up to me was Where does Dan Wheldon rank with the greatest in the Indianapolis 500 ?  In my opinion, Dan Wheldon ranks in the top 10 maybe as high at 5th or 6th all-time at the speedway.  Wheldon in the 9 years racing at Indianapolis, has dominated unlike any other in a nine year span currently.  His stats speak for themselves and whether it be right place right time, or running with a great team,  the man could drive.

2 Indianapolis 500 Wins (2005, 2011)

6 Top 4 finishes

5 Top 3 finishes

2nd Place back to back 2009, 2010 followed by his victory in 2011.

In recent years at the track, the memory of Dan Wheldon has lived on through keepsakes and stories told.  This year they are selling a Dan Wheldon book where proceeds go to charities in his name.

My fondest memory was every year heading out to the track in May with my best friend Shawn Daugherty ( who at the time) was Dan’s #1 fan.  We went through Gasoline Alley, pits, along the fence looking for Dan, or finding a huge crowd around him.  Year after year, the greatness of Dan grew on me myself and I started cheering for him back in 2006 and knowing he always took the time to talk to his fans and sign autographs.  The famous white sunglasses he wore with Target racing that Shawn and myself wanted so bad.  Dan was a legend at Indianapolis and his racing record backed it up. He is absolutely in my opinion in the top 10 all-time there, and maybe as high as 5th or 6th.  Every time the track opens up in May, it hurts knowing that Dan isn’t with us anymore and we don’t get the chance to see him chase down another title.  I would love to see the speedway create a statue or some kind of memorial or building named after Dan who came to Indy every year and raved about this place.

When you go out to the 100th running this year, stay hydrated, enjoy the racing and tradition of the Indianapolis 500 and remember the greats like Dan and others that we lost too soon who loved to put on a show at Indianapolis for us fans.

God Speed

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