I had the pleasure of photographing Dan Wheldon twice in my career as a photojournalist. The above photo was the first time back in 2003. I was working for the Morning Call, and I remember that my wife wasn’t very happy that I decided to piggyback an assignment at Indy while we were visiting her family in Chicago. How many times do you get access to a race team? Not many, so I needed to jump on this. I arrived extra early, wanting to avoid any traffic. It was so early, that security was just starting to place cones on the street that would be used for directing traffic. I was sent to Indy to follow Michael Andretti, who was running in what was his last Indy 500 as a driver. Dan was a member of Andretti Green Racing and finished in 19th place. Dan was great to photo and didn’t mind when I shoved my camera in his face. He clearly was enjoying this day.
The second time was during the first running of the Iowa Corn 250, where he placed 11th. Read a 2008 article published in the Des Moines Register after Wheldon won the Iowa Corn 250.
Dan Wheldon was killed in a 15-car pileup at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday in the Izod IndyCar Series season finale.
Wheldon was 33.