Reaction to loss of Dan Wheldon

Reaction to the death of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, who was killed Sunday in a 15-car wreck at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

‘It’s a black day for the sport. We came in here hoping for a good season-finale and ended up losing a very close friend and a very good racing driver.” — IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe.

”We put so much pressure on ourselves to win races and championships, and that’s what we love to do, what we live for. Days like today, it doesn’t really matter. I lost, we lost, a good friend. Everybody in IndyCar considered Dan a friend. You saw what the reaction was. Dan was one of those special, special people, from when he first showed up at IndyCar.” — Dario Franchitti, Wheldon’s former teammate and 2011 season champion.

”Dan Wheldon was a tremendous competitor and great racer and an even better person. It was an honor to have him be a part of our team. All of us at Sam Schmidt Motorsports are deeply saddened by his passing. On behalf of everyone at Sam Schmidt Motorsports, our prayers go out to all of his family, especially his wife, Susie, and their two children.” — Sam Schmidt, owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

”We’re all going to miss him. A little bit of everybody in IndyCar racing died today.” — Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing, Wheldon’s former team.

”I feel so bad for Susie and their kids. It’s so tough to understand when somebody is gone that quickly. Dan was always a very happy guy; he was always smiling. He was a funny, great person that touched a lot of people. He will be missed.” — IndyCar driver Oriol Servia.

”Recently, we had been working very closely with Dan on the development of the 2012 IndyCar. His passion for the sport was evident every day, and he worked endlessly to do the best he could at everything he did. We extend our sympathies to his family, to his team, and to his many friends and fans. He was a talented competitor on the track who will be long remembered by all who had the privilege of working with and knowing him.” — Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing.

”What a tremendously sad day, my thoughts are with the entire Wheldon family… Dan’s passion for IndyCar racing will be sorely missed….” — IndyCar driver JR Hildebrand on Twitter.

”The passing of Dan Wheldon today is a great shame. Dan was a great driver as evidenced by not only his Indianapolis 500 victories, but by his many wins and great performances in the race car. But he was much more than a great driver. He was a good guy, good family man and really seemed to have a bright future, not only as a driver, but as a television personality as well.” — Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing.

”All of us here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are deeply saddened by the death of Dan Wheldon. He was a tremendous race car driver and a great representative for IndyCar racing. Our prayers are with Dan’s family as well as the officials and sponsors of IndyCar.” — Chris Powell, president of LVMS.

”Dan had a passion for motorsports and a wonderful personality that made him a friend to everyone in the racing community. His talent and dedication were an inspiration to us all. We will miss him terribly and everyone at Honda extends our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fans across the world.” — Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development.

”We are incredibly saddened at the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great champion of the Indianapolis 500 and a wonderful ambassador for the race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of motorsports. Most importantly, he was a fantastic husband, father and man – a good friend to so many in this sport. His memory will live forever at the Speedway, both through the magnitude of his accomplishments on the track and his magnetism off the track.” — Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO Jeff Belskus.

”Such a sad day… to lose a champion like Dan Wheldon…my thoughts and prayers are with Susie and his kids,” IndyCar driver Will Power on Twitter.

”Dan Wheldon was a dear friend and an incredible race driver. His family and friends were with him at the track today, and he was surrounded by love. He was doing what all true racers love best. There is a massive hole in my heart, but I am blessed to have shared in his life, his family and friends and his mighty racing accomplishments.” — Scott Borchetta, president and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group & sponsor of Dan Wheldon’s car.

”This is a truly heartbreaking loss. Dan Wheldon was a terrific driver and a great champion, but overall he was one of the most engaging, intelligent and colorful individuals in our sport. We were fortunate to work with Dan as a regular promotional partner over the years. We will miss his competitive drive on the track and his energy and sense of humor in the paddock.” — Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway.

”NASCAR offers its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Dan Wheldon, his teammates, and the entire IndyCar Series community for their tragic loss today. They will be in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.” —  NASCAR CEO Brian France.

”He’s just too young. You just don’t realize that every time you get in the car they could die.” — photographer Michael Vorhees who shot ”Lionheart,” Wheldon’s coffee table book that he described as ”almost like a photo biography from my career in IndyCars up until this point.”

”Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dan Wheldon’s family and friends on this sad, sad day. All of us in the IndyCar family feel an unexplainable sense of loss. Not just for the sport, but for all who knew Dan Wheldon. Dan was a family man, a father, a husband, a son and a brother. The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner was also a competitor and a colleague … our deepest condolences go out to all who knew Dan.” — Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons.

"I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Wheldon at the National Guard Youth Challenge dinner about five years ago, and we crossed paths several times since then, mostly through our mutual partnership with the National Guard. His success as a racer speaks for itself, but I will remember him as a true professional who was friendly, respectful, and genuine. On behalf of everyone at JR Motorsports, I send condolences to Dan’s family, team, and friends in the racing community.”  — NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

”I have so many good memories of racing with Dan in the early 90s, a true fighter. We’ve lost a legend in our sport but also a great guy … I can’t begin to imagine what his family are going through and my thoughts are with them at this very difficult time," Formula One driver Jenson Button on Twitter.

”Dan was a racer I’d followed throughout my career, as I often followed in his footsteps as we climbed the motor sport ladder in the UK. He was an extremely talented driver. As a British guy who not only went over to the States but who twice won the Indy 500, he was an inspirational guy, and someone that every racing driver looked up to with respect and admiration. This is a tragic loss at such a young age.” — Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, Wheldon’s former Formula One teammate at McLaren.

"All of us at Richard Childress Racing are saddened by the loss of Dan Wheldon. Dan was a fierce competitor and a great champion. I had the pleasure of meeting him over the past couple of years and quickly realized what a great ambassador he was for our entire sport. Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends." — Richard Childress, NASCAR team owner.