Dario Franchitti and Chip Ganassi speak about the passing of Dan Wheldon

Four-time IndyCar Series champion and two-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and his team boss, Chip Ganassi, gave their thoughts following the death of Dan Wheldon in the 2011 IndyCar Series finale at Las Vegas today

Dario Franchitti and Chip Ganassi speak about the passing of Dan Wheldon

Q. How are you feeling?

Dario Franchitti: "Numb and speechless are what come up, one minute we're joking around at the driver intros and the next Dan's gone. I told his son, Sebastian today that I've known his dad since he was about six years old, we'd known him since he was a little kid [signalling with hand how tall he was], and then he's my team-mate in IndyCars. We had a couple of fallouts along the way but he was a friend. I lost... we lost a good friend. Everyone saw Dan as a good friend.

"When he first turned up in Indy he was brash but a charmer. I think about Susie [his wife] and the boys and I struggle to hold it together."

Chip Ganassi: "I remember his team-mates saying they didn't know how he does it, winning all the races and when he came over to our team I got to know him and then I knew how he did it. He won the 24 Hours at Daytona then Homestead and... jeez you understood what the guy had. Talk to Scott Dixon about what he brought to the team when he came. He taught Scott Dixon how to win and he became a better race car driver.

"What can you say? Everyone is going to miss him. We lost a little bit of Indycar today."

Q. Thoughts on winning your fourth championship?

DF: "No... I'd like to say thank you to all the fans for showing so much respect for Dan, it was a very nice thing. I was thinking about Dan [as he drove the five-lap salute after the tragic news was announced] and all stories and all the fun times we had. It's just really, really sad. It's the ugly side of our sport."

Q. Do you have one of the happiest stories of Dan you can share with us?

DF: "There's been a few. One of the two times we fell out Tony [Kanaan], Brian [Herta] and I brought him to the hotel and gave him a good talking to and his eyes were like this [huge and out on stalks]. Dan had lots of Irish in him from his father's side, but I think he had some Scottish in him too as he never bought dinner or anything! He was the little brother we didn't want!

"Then he signs for Chip and asks us if we were in New York and said let's go for dinner, I'm buying. We gave his credit card a beating and proceeded to order lots of expensive things, champagne and the bill came to $5000 and he didn't flinch. We're going to miss him."

Q. Anything that can or should be done following this?

CG: "We can talk about that in the off season. Now's not the time."

shares
comments
Motorsport pays tribute to Dan Wheldon
Previous article

Motorsport pays tribute to Dan Wheldon

Next article

BRDC president Derek Warwick mourns loss of 'great talent' Wheldon

BRDC president Derek Warwick mourns loss of 'great talent' Wheldon
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021