This past weekend, INDYCAR came together to commemorate the life of a champion. Yet the mourning of Dan Wheldon's passing and the celebration of his life did not stop and start with only with the INDYCAR community. In the V8 Super Cars' Gold Coast 600, Sébastien Bourdais won the Dan Wheldon Trophy as the best international driver. The Dale Coyne Racing ace choked up as he accepted the award, paying tribute to a fallen legend.
Elsewhere, Graham Rahal's auction to benefit Wheldon's family has drawn interest and donations from drivers from disciplines as far-ranging as F1, NASCAR, MotoGP, NHRA, and others. Racing stars such as Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Ron Capps, and Nicky Hayden have donated items to the effort, adding to the already considerable efforts from INDYCAR drivers and teams. Nicole Briscoe's tribute on the NASCAR Talladega broadcast was as moving and heartfelt as any we've seen.
With the passing this week of MotoGP's Marco Simoncelli in a terrible on-track accident, and the fatal plane crash of off-road racing champ Rick Huseman, very few on the racing globe have been unaffected by tragedy this week. As an additional blow, "Iron Man Mike" Wanser, the son of Target Chip Ganassi Team Manager Barry Wanser, also passed Sunday after his incredibly courageous fight with leukemia. These cease to become matters for one or two racing communities; they are instead events that touch us all.
These are sad times, but the amount of support between the various series and disciplines is warming. Any driver, be they in INDYCAR, USAC Silver Crown, WRC, ALMS, or any one of dozens of other motorsport series, put their life on the line, whether they search for excellence, victory, innovation, honor, or any mixture of the above. They make our lives richer, even though that same richness makes the tragedies hurt so much more.
We love INDYCAR, but we honor the accomplishments and legacy of all racers. We come together to celebrate our remember our fallen heroes, and that's the way it should be. As much as we give and take over the perceived superiority of our preferred forms of racing, we are all fans, all part of a larger fraternity. It's the times like these when that matters most, and when the generosity, kindness, empathy, and strength of that bond is most needed.
Zachary Houghton runs www.indycaradvocate.com , which features regularly-updated INDYCAR, IZOD IndyCar Series, and Mazda Road to Indy interviews, commentary, and more. You can find him on Twitter (@indycaradvocate), or via email at mail.rpgblog@gmailcom .