Winning the Indianapolis 500 is every race driver’s dream. This year, Englishman Dan Wheldon took the chequered flag in one of the most bizarre and unexpected Indianapolis 500 finishes.
Wheldon didn’t lead the race for more than a quarter of a mile and yet, a fortuitous crash late in the race ended Jr. Hildebrand’s race to glory and put the Englishman in the spotlight.
It’s interesting then that less than 24 hours after winning the Indianapolis 500, Wheldon is already looking for a new ride. You would expect the Indianapolis 500 winner to have sponsorhips and opportunities coming from all angles, but at the moment Dan Wheldon is unemployed with no ride lined up for IndyCar’s next two stops or any other venue this year.
As AP sports writer Michael Marot reports, Wheldon said “I’m unemployed. I’m unemployed,” Wheldon said during his day-after victory tour. “I’m sure Bryan will do everything he can to keep me in a race car, but Bryan is an astute businessman, too.” Wheldon’s contract expired with Bryan Herta Autosport at midnight, just hours after Wheldon was drinking the sweet Indy 500 champion milk.
It’s such a weird situation for a race car driver who has just won the biggest race to find himself in. Apparently in the sport of racing, age does matter and the 32 year old Wheldon isn’t exactly a sponsors dream. Wheldon was quoted in the Times Leader saying, “I’m pretty sure no Formula One team is going to look at me because I’m getting a little older,” Wheldon said. “Honestly, I have to evaluate all of my options now because I don’t have a contract and I still feel like I’ve got some left in me.”
Time left? He’s only 32 and he just won the Indianapolis 500, again. In 2005, Wheldon was the best in the business, he dominated IndyCars with six wins and 12 top-fives in 16 starts, he won the points title as well as the Indy 500 that year as well.
Wheldon shouldn’t be unemployed very long. Even though sponsors are more inclined to look at a younger up-coming driver, Wheldon’s resume speaks volumes on its own.