You’re going to see a lot of wonderfully heartfelt tributes today and throughout the week, commemorating the driver and friend we lost one year ago. As a certain American President once said in commemorating the fallen, it is altogether fitting and proper that we do this.
For my part, though, I can’t and don’t want to spend 2000 words reliving that terrible day. I have my memories of a good man, a great driver, and someone was a hero less because of his love and mastery of racing, and more because of the love and joy he shared with fans, who returned it to him in kind.
No, for me, that memorial is out on the track, with this car, the one he developed. Like Dan, at one point it was dismissed and disregarded by doubters. Like Dan, when given the opportunity on track, it shone, and showed its detractors just what it was capable of. It gave us an amazing season, and something to celebrate and enjoy in the very best of racing traditions.
That’s the legacy I choose to mark, and will do so every time I go to a race or see these cars racing like crazy on the track. It’s a choice to celebrate and move forward, not dwell on a single tragic moment time and again. Frankly, I can’t think of a better way to commemorate Dan than to continue to enjoy racing, love his contribution to the sport, and try to approach it with even a fraction of the joy he found in it. In this way, somber words must give way to celebration, and tragedy can be made into something positive and lasting.
Dan Wheldon left us an amazing car, and the memory of a joyous champion along with it. With that I mind, that’s how I choose to go on, not only October 16th, but for all the days to follow.