Yesterday the racing world lost one of its members in a horrific lap-12 crash in the IndyCar Series season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This year’s Indianapolis 500 champion, Dan Wheldon passed away from injuries sustained in the crash.

The IndyCar Series lost a champion, and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner.  Dario Franchitti lost a friend he has had since childhood. Alex Tagliani lost his “little brother from another mother.” But most importantly, his wife Suzie lost her husband, and his two sons, Sebastian, and Oliver lost their father, and Wheldons parents lost their son.

Death in auto racing is something that doesn’t happen too often, but it is always a possibility. Yesterday was a grim reminder of that possibility. Drivers, owners, series’ officials, and fans never want to think of the possibility, but the risk is always there. The drivers know what could happen every time they strap into their cars, but they just hope it doesn’t happen to them.

Auto racing has gotten much safer in recent years. The deaths of Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin Jr. and Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR, and the deaths of Greg Moore and Paul Dana in IndyCar have brought about many safety improvements in both series. Racing will never be truly safe, but it is much safer than it once was.

The IndyCar Series will race a new style car in 2012. A car that is supposed to be much safer than their current car. That car was tested by Dan Wheldon.

Hopefully that new car will put an end to deaths in the IndyCar Series. We cannot lose our friends, brothers, sons, husbands, and fathers anymore.

Rest in peace, Dan.