The Paddock Pulse: Lionheart Edition

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 17: Bob Herring and his wife Cindy embrace at the gate to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where tributes were being left by race fans at a memorial to two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon on October 17, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Wheldon was killed in a crash yesterday at the Izod IndyCar series season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This is one of the hardest - yet most fulfilling - things I've done since Dan Wheldon died.

The Paddock Pulse is usually my gift back to my fellow fans and bloggers, giving them whatever boost I can by highlighting their opinions and creativity. I think, though, that this week's Pulse is a gift back to me.

Reading through the collected links - and out of the magnum corpus of heartfelt tributes, media homages, and expressions of sorrow and love, I could only include 20 - I am brought again to tears, but also uplifted by the bared souls and authentic feeling I read in the words of my peers.

I hope you all bookmark danwheldonmemorial.com and find ways to give solace to and succor Dan's family. I also hope that this edition of the Pulse - usually a cheeky, snarky spot to provide a chuckle or two - serves a more noble purpose than it ever has before.

Thank you, friends.

  • No Words Can Express My Sorrow [WideOpenWheel]
    I am not going to even begin to attempt an explanation of what happened to the heart and soul of Indy Car today in Las Vegas. Dan was a gentleman to everyone he interacted with, and always knew when to take a moment to engage.

  • Expanding on the Moment of Silence for Dan Wheldon [Triple League Racing]
    It seems crazy to be this upset about the death of someone you don’t personally know… but I’m really glad to know from the other bloggers and fans on twitter I’m not the only one who feels this way. We may not know them personally but we do spend a ton of time watching, reading, and writing about them so when someone’s hurt or killed it affects us.

  • PRUETT: Danny Boy [SPEED]
    "Hey, is this the famous international motorsports reporter?" he said. Filled with pride for what I perceived was Wheldon’s recognition of my work Down Under, I was barely able to reply, "Thanks, Danny Boy, I…" before he interrupted me. "Wait a minute…who is this?" he said. I replied, "It’s Marshall." "Oh, my bad," said Wheldon, "I was trying to call Robin Miller…hahahahahahaha…"

  • What is there to add…? [So… here’s what I’m thinking…]
    As much as it was easy to "take the piss" on his glasses, and his shoes, and those TEETH, for some reason, when you were in his presence, that all seemed normal. It worked. He never made you feel like you were intruding or being a bother. Quite the opposite actually. He made you feel like you belonged in his world.

  • Grieving as a Community: Goodbye, Dan Wheldon [Queers4Gears.com]
    What they don’t see, that we do, is the loss of a brother. We didn’t have to know him personally to feel the loss of him deeply. Because he was one of us. Racing wasn’t just what he did, it was a part of who he was. And that part of him, that part of us, is what ultimately took him.

  • Dan Wheldon [pressdog.com]
    He knew who I was and that I was from Des Moines. He treated me like I was from the New York Times, not some nothing blog. He made time for everyone. Answered the same questions he's heard many times before like it was the first time he'd been asked.

  • Remembering Dan, The Man [Open Wheel America]
    As amazing and talented as he was on the track, he was even better off of it. Dan and his wife had their second son, Oliver, earlier this year. He had time off this season and was able to spend every day with them. He was truly as happy as a man could be.

  • The Sport That Dan Wheldon Loved [Oilpressure]
    If you follow this sport long enough, you come to expect what happened yesterday. That’s not to say that you ever get used to it. If you do get used to it, you probably need to have your pulse taken.

  • Dan Wheldon: A Champion [More Front Wing]
    Days like today make many of us question why we love this sport and follow it faithfully knowing full well what lurks in every corner. In the end, we love it because it is in our blood. We love our heroes who understand the risks and face them head-on. Dan was certainly one who did not back down from those risks.

  • IndyCar drivers reflect on Wheldon's passing [Racer.com]
    Most IndyCar drivers posted reactions to Dan Wheldon's fatal accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Twitter.

  • A Trip To IMS [IndyCar Advocate]
    It broke my heart, and breaks it again now, even to think of it. There was the trophy left by the young schoolboy who claimed Dan as an inspiration. There was the giant Union Jack, the signed photos returned in honor of the man who signed them.

  • The love behind the dream [Do You Come with the Car?]
    So here I am, living that life again where you do your best to ignore the very real danger the man who's your everything chooses to face to pay the mortgage. But now it's a little different, because horrifying deaths play out on live TV and get replayed over and over and over and analyzed ad nauseum, and when you see it over and over it gets a lot harder to pretend it won't happen to you.

  • Dan Wheldon Tribute 1978-2011 [@IndyRacingNut]
    A quick picture montage of his career & life. Godspeed Dan. It was an honor to have known you. See you on the other side one day.

  • A CHAMPION IS GONE [Indy Racing Revolution]
    As I reflect upon Wheldon at this time, many things shine through to me: His good-natured spirit, his devotion to his family, his amazing abilities in a race car, his deep love for the sport, and, of course, that cheshire-cat grin.

  • IndyCar Loses a Piece of Its Heart with Dan Wheldon's Passing [Drive Hard, Turn Left]
    The bat out of hell driving style? Wheldon could be counted on to drive as fast as possible, no matter the situation. Sunday, he was tasked with the challenge of passing 33 cars to win $5 million. No sweat for Wheldon, who had passed 10 cars at the time of the wreck that took his life.

  • RVM… Another Hero Taken too Soon [anotherindycarblog]
    When he came over, the cute little toddler stated talking to Wheldon; giving him an animal cracker in the process. Dan, being the consummate professional that he is, actually made conversation with the little girl, pretending to eat the animal cracker as well.

  • RIP Dan Wheldon [16th And Georgetown]
    He passed doing what he loved. Thoughts and prayers are with his wife Susie, children Sebastian and Oliver and the entire Wheldon family. We've lost a great one. RIP Dan Wheldon....

  • I Can't Believe This Has Happened -- Dan Wheldon, 1978-2011 [15 Days in May]
    I think I was not the only one who became a Dan Wheldon fan over the past year or so. Years ago, I bought what the media fed me, that he was a party guy, and at times a cocky punk. I was wrong, incredibly wrong.

  • ALEX LLOYD: We mourn, and must go on [CNN]
    From my point of view as a driver, now is not that time. Now is the time to remember Dan, the great champion he was -- a two-time Indy 500 winner, the great husband, father and friend to so many of us. We will all miss him.

  • A Tribute To Dan Wheldon – by Brendan Kaczmarek [Central Florida Region SCCA]
    I took the attitude for the two-hour wait between the accident and the news of preparation. How will this news affect my mood? Will I cry? What will people think when I explain a racing driver died and that’s the reason for something I display very little, in the end?

Driver Tweet of the Week

@danwheldon: Green!!!!

Last But Not Least

I've got a long, long way to go before I can say goodbye...

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