No Words Left To Say

The IndyCar community is still reeling from Dan Wheldon’s fatal accident on Sunday, and justifiably so. From what I can gauge, I don’t think IndyCar fans are ready to discuss anything else other than the loss of our reigning Indianapolis 500 champion. There is no more that I can say on the subject that hasn’t been said already. There have also been so many superb tributes written in the last few days, that anything I could add would be simply repetitive.

A lot of my sadness has turned to anger in the last couple of days with some very irresponsible journalism from mainstream news sources regarding the events from Sunday. I think it best that I don’t tackle that subject just yet. So in remembrance of Dan Wheldon, I think that will lay low for the next few days until I think the time is right to sound off on this subject and others regarding the IZOD IndyCar Series.

George Phillips

*Please note: There have been some technical glitches regarding the link using the domain “”. I have been told, that the link is now operable. If you have any problems however, please use the link provided here and bookmark it. I appreciate your patience. – GP

20 Responses to “No Words Left To Say”

  1. I’m not sure it will seem right to discuss anything else even after St Pete next spring. Just shocked.

  2. Don McLean’s – American Pie – comes to mind with the passing of an era……………………………

  3. Why my heartbreak over losing Dan is so profound is because, unlike other drivers and celebrity/athletes that I have come in contact with, he stood out. He was so friendly and chatty that I would look forward to seeing him each year that he came to Nashville. Also, I was drawn in by his spirit and charisma. His 500 victory was, to me, special and kick-started the summer into a personal good one. His personality, professionalism and insight enhanced the Versus broadcasts and I knew that after his racing career he was going to be one of the best broadcast announcers in the business. He was very special.

    With that noted, there are many in the media that don’t get the sport of motor racing and at times like these they are provided a platform to say what they will, whether they know what they are talking about or not. It has been like that since the first race. INDYCAR will carry on and we will remember Dan as we did with Eddie Sachs and Bill Vukovich. We don’t follow this sport for tragedy nor do we, as sports enthusiasts, follow football to see someone get terribly injured. However, as much as I don’t like it, it happens.

    I’ll be at Barber next year and when May, 2012 gets here I will be at the Indianapolis 500 as excited as ever. This year, though, I will maybe wear a black ribbon on my polo in tribute and memory to my boy. Indy is where he lived.

  4. Without trying to be controversial or meaning any disrespect to Dan, I think we are quickly approaching the time to start letting this go. While grieving is healthy, you reach a point where dwelling on a death becomes borderline obsessive. Based on what I’m reading on other blogs and Twitter some are starting to cross that line and we are starting to see the canonization of Dan Wheldon.

    I appreciate the fact that George is not piling more tributes on top of more tributes. He is being respectful to those that are still hurting and recognizes that not many are able to focus on anything else. But like it or not, there are many other important issues involving Indy Car that need to be addressed. It’s close to time to move on.

    • Okay, everyone: Nomex is disinterested in Dan Wheldon and learning lessons from critical incidents. Let’s move on to …
      oh, that was the last race?
      So we have no other races to discuss or grievously-injured racers to discuss?
      Oh, I see …
      George has nothing else to blog about, so he mentioned that we’re lamenting the loss of a ‘great one’ and mentioned irresponsible journalism from mainstream media?
      Okay with me!
      I don’t feel like saying, “Okay, folks; three days have passed! Let’s forget about Dan Wheldon and that shortened race and move on to …”
      IndyCar championship is finished, and F1 championships have been decided…

      • Twisted words are a dangerous thing. I don’t recall ever writing that I was “disinterested” in Dan Wheldon or that we should not learn anything from his accident. My point was that while many people seem to be completely overcome with grief to the point where they cannot function, many others handle their grief in different ways that include wanting to put the tragedy behind them and moving on.

        I believe that was exactly the point George was making by not continuing to dwell on the tragedy. But out of respect for those that can’t focus on anything else, he has chosen to not pursue other pertinent topics.

        Please don’t paint me as a villain just because I handle grief and death differently than you. Just because I’m not wearing ribbons, trinkets or other Dan Wheldon artifacts doesn’t mean I wasn’t affected by his loss. I simply deal with grief more privately and consider it healthy to move forward.

        • Indyracingirl Says:

          I agree with Nomex. I am so afraid to put ANYTHING on twitter that is even remotely humorous, lest I be attacked. Thankfully Roy Hobbson has posted a few tweets to lighten things up a bit. Once again, George is not saying forget about him, but I don’t inderstand how people find it hard to function–maybe his driver friends, since he died driving, but fans? I am wondering if Wheldon left his family penniless, since there is a huge movement to get money for them. Looking at his book (which they are reprinting–proceeds to his family), he had a good lifestyle–not overly extravagant. I guess I am in the minority, but I think if I were the family of such a public figure, I would be kind of embarrassed at all the foundations and memorial funds set up to help. Kind of implies that Dan was irresponsible with his money. I know it costs a lot to raise 2 kids, but how much? OK–attack me.

  5. I agree Nomex, we all get sad when the last race is over, knowing we have to wait months for another race, I wonder if it is our way of prolonging the time in between seasons. It seems like all have the common bond of racing and when the season is done, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Is this a way to just keep bonding us together? I don’t know, because unfortunately this will not be the last racing death we see in our lifetimes, no matter how safe they make everything.

  6. Bravo, George, for showing decorum where too many others feel the need to join a frenzy. I wish more writers – and all reporters – had the scruples to subscribe to the same philosophy as you’re doing on this.

  7. I know the feeling. My own short blog post helped me immensely. The sports guys on the morning radio show here didn’t.

    I’ve been able to keep my anger in check, but I think I need to start blogging again soon. There are a lot of things to talk about, and many of them are painful.

  8. Agreed, the coming months are going to be difficult. Some will grieve, some will move on. Some will write about it, some will not. It is everyone’s personal decision on how they will handle what is to come. I will keep on top of things on my own blog with up-to-date news on the coming investigation, lawsuits, etc. Some will not. Everyone has to handle this in their own way.

  9. Bent Wickerbill Says:

    Not cannonize but eulogize, but in human terms, by adding our own personal experiences with Dan….
    It is January of 2008, myself and my fiance at the time, had traveled to Daytona Speedway for the Roar before the 24… (the testing weekend just prior to the Rolex 24 Hour Race) For those of you who have not attended I highly recommend this weekend even if you will not or cannot attend the 24 hour race, although you should…
    We were doing the track to seats to paddock crawl (SOME DRIVER STALKING WAS INVOLVED). Watching GTs and DPs alike being prepared, tested and adjusted. 2008 was of course the third of three years that Dan was driving for TCGR, therefore he along with Scott Dixon, Salvador Duran, and Alex Lloyd would be driving the #2 Target Chip Ganassi / Felix Sabates DP that year.
    So, here is the number one reason why this weekend is so special. Not only do you get up close with all the cars and testing, the other perk is, that there are generally more drivers and team members in attendance than there are fans. Anyway, to make a long story short, along with some photos and brief conversation with everyone from Helio Castroneves to Milka Duno, we also ran into Dan Wheldon, right outside of the TCGR trailer, just as he was finishing up an interview, with a writer uknown to us. Dan was in his firesuit (and had just gotten his new teeth which were, how shall I say this, just stunning)… I am an AA fan and at the time was an AGR fan and was of course wearing my long sleeved AGR T-Shirt… As soon as Dan saw that T-Shirt the first words out of his mouth in his English accent were, “apparently your Target Chip Ganassi T-Shirt was in the laundry this morning”… At which we, all three of us burst out laughing, my retort was, that I wanted to be sure to wear something that would make him feel at home… So, we all got a very good laugh out of that, took a few photos and we let the guy be… We had him all to ourselves for a couple of minutes and you would have thought that we were the only people in the place. But in the few experiences I have had meeting Dan, he was always that way. He, Dan Wheldon was that guy and he was also the guy still dresssed in his fire suit and racing shoes an hour after the race had ended in Homestead, down on one knee in the semi darkness of the paddock, still signing autographs for several children who had beeen waiting for him to come out of the garage… And these are just two of the reasons why we all loved this guy so much.

    • Bent:

      Great memory of Dan…! That’s what we all loved about him — he loved the sport so much that he genuinely shared the enthusiasm of the fans. His excellence on the race track was equaled by his humility and kindness. Celebrity, it seemed, did not change him. Indy Car Racing will go on, but it will never be quite the same without Dan Wheldon.


    • Indeed Bent and thanks for sharing that with us.

  10. Still in disbelief…..

    The Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund has been established for the financial security of Wheldon’s family. The public can make contributions to the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund starting Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the following address:

    Fifth Third Private Bank
    Attn: Dan Wheldon Family Trust
    251 North Illinois St.
    Suite 1000
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

  11. IndyCar’s* current modus operandi is ‘entertainment’ in a Circus Maximus kind of way. Warriors, gladiators fighting it out to the death on an oval at 220 mph in wheel to wheel excitement. But is it a competition of skill or bravery?

    There is a difference between entertainment and entertaining, but also between entertainment and competition. I want my racing to be entertaining, but I want the entertainment to come from the cold hard battle of competition, not gimmicks, contrived equality, or the bravado of foot to the floor, 100% throttle 100% of the time wheel banging with the prospect of ‘The Big Crash’. Note what the ABC announcers said as the crash began. It wasn’t “Trouble” or “Oh, no” it was “Here we go” as in “Here we go, we knew it was going to happen and it’s what we were all waiting for.”

    Motor racing is dangerous. It doesn’t need to be made more so by desperately clinging to a faulty vision. It would be very wrong to compare Dan Wheldon with Ayrton Senna, but that Imola weekend was a watershed moment for Formula 1, where the powers that be took a major step back and looked at many different aspects of the sport. Wheldon’s death needs to be the same.

    It’s time for IndyCar* to admit they were wrong and revamp everything. Eliminate mile and a half ovals designed for NASCAR. Go back to the drawing boards for a new car, one that looks good, doesn’t launch itself into orbit or fracture spines. Eliminate the contrived excitement of the pack mentality. Give the cars enough horsepower with less downforce so that throttle modulation and driving skill determine who makes it through the corners instead of planting your foot to the floor and praying you don’t get caught up in someone else’s mistake.

    Honour Dan Wheldon’s memory by doing something difficult, like making major changes, even if it means reducing or eliminating next year’s schedule.

    Taking the easy way out like naming the new car or a trophy after Wheldon will make his death as meaningless as Scott Brayton’s, Tony Renna’s or Paul Dana’s.

    • Oilpressure Says:

      Do you honestly think that the best way to honor Dan Wheldon is to eliminate next year’s schedule? Do you truly think that that’s what he would have wanted? Wow! I guess I am out of touch.

      • It doesn’t matter what Dan would want. Safety is what matters now.

        Word on the street is that this new car might be more dangerous than the last with the drivers more exposed.

        Eliminate ovals except for the 500 next year until we get a better feel of the new car and its safety. Can you imagine if we lose another driver next year due to a similar accident because of lack of knowledge with this new Dallara?

        • Yes, please eliminate the ovals. That way I can get more sleep watching the twistys all the time. I really don’t need anymore excitement in my life.

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