Racing superstar Danica Patrick came close to disaster in that 15-car horror crash in which a champion driver was killed. Patrick's green number 7 car came dangerously close to crashing as 15 other cars piled up in the IndyCar 300 in Las Vegas.
"He was a friend of all of us. He'll be missed and I feel for his family," said Patrick.
Also in tears was his childhood friend, IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti, who wept at the wheel of his car.
Franchitti's wife, actress Ashley Judd, was also overcome with emotion, and she tried to comfort her husband as he came off the track.
Wheldon leaves behind a wife and two children, aged two years old, and eight months.
Now urgent questions are being raised about the safety of the track and the unusual features of the Vegas race.
The Las Vegas motor speedway has high banked turns, which allow drivers to go faster than on other tracks. 33-year-old Dan Wheldon was trying for a $5 million bonus if he could come from last position at the start of the race to win.
In what turned out to be an eerie epitaph, Wheldon blogged before the race: "As long as I can find some speed and keep up with the pack, I'll do everything I can to put on a show."