Dan Wheldon’s Uniform Slept Here

Published On June 6, 2011 » 1592 Views» By Chris Jones » Blogs, Indy 500

Old time residents of the Town of Speedway and historians like Donald Davidson tell stories about Indy 500 drivers staying at houses in Speedway during the month of May.  This tradition lasted into the 1980s.  I am not sure if any Indy 500 drivers stayed at my house prior to me purchasing it, but I can now say that Dan Wheldon’s uniform slept at my house the night he won the 100th Anniversary Indy 500.  Let me explain…

Wheldon's Firesuit

My cousin’s daughter, Emily Jones, is interning this summer with Bryan Herta Autosport.  During her internship, she is staying at my house.  As an intern for a smaller IndyCar team, she experienced a wide range of duties during May.  Some of her duties included carrying Dan’s helmet to the pits when he headed out on the track, assisting in the entertainment of guests at the team’s suite, helping hand out several thousand William Rast Racing Team hats and t-shirts, and picking up guests and team members at the airport.  As a member of the team, she was included in the team’s qualifying photo, victory lane photo, and victory dinner photo. Running to grab the helmet On the night of Dan’s historic win, as the intern on the team, she was asked to take Dan’s uniform and wash it so that it would be clean for the winner’s photo shoot on Monday.  The uniform was stained with milk, champagne, and possibly some other mysterious fluid.  Since Emily is staying with me, she brought the uniform to my house to wash it.  The uniform spent the night hanging to dry in my basement.  It was then ready for the Winner’s Photo Shoot on Monday morning. Wheldon is your winner I know this is not quite as exciting as some of the other stories Speedway residents have about Indy 500 drivers staying at their house, but I can now say that the night he won the 100th Anniversary Indy 500, Dan Wheldon’s Uniform slept here. (P.S. – The milk bottle Dan drank from after winning the race magically appeared on my kitchen counter a few days later.  Don’t worry, the bottle is now safely in Dan’s possession.)

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About The Author

Chris Jones

I am a staff photographer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Verizon IndyCar Series. I have been attending the Indy 500 since 1972. Since 2003, I have been a member of the IMS photo staff, and in 2004, I was fortunate enough to become a member of the photo “travel team” for the IndyCar series. In 1998, I moved to the Town of Speedway where I currently reside about 2 blocks from the IMS Main Gate. My Blog will be all about the wonderful Town of Speedway. I will discuss the town’s history, current town activities, and more importantly, those things that make Speedway a wonderful place to call home. As you can probably guess, photos, both current and historic, will be included in my Blog posts.
8 comments
Rory
Rory

Cool story a few months ago... but now it's kinda sad. It's a cool memory for you to have.

Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN
Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

What a bummer for the suit. The night it wins the Indianapolis 500 it gets locked in the basement. It probably had a date with whatever the Izod girls were wearing.

steve
steve

Great story! I met Dan when he raced in Indy Lights at a field trip at the race shop he raced for. On that day he was really involved with the group I was with. He spent quite a bit of time with our group in discussion, as a mechanic I was impressed with his involvment and passion. Since that day I am a Dan Weldon fan.

Indy
Indy

While shooting victory photos on Monday morning, I couldn't help but notice that his overpriced Sparco suit didn't even cover his ankles. The legs were a solid 2 inches too short. The cuff was above the top of his shoe. Good thing you didn't have a fire, Dan!

DJ Blythe
DJ Blythe

Your washing machine done good... Surely there are numerous cameo appearances with the Maytag Repairman in its future!

pkelly
pkelly

Great story, Chris! Your pictures during May were excellent, as always, too.

Randy
Randy

Sick brag! lol.....Great story! One of the truely great things about living in the town of Speedway!

Tom MacDuffie
Tom MacDuffie

That's a great story to add to the collection!