The Wheldon family is getting back into open-wheel racing a decade after the tragic death of Dan Wheldon.
On Saturday, Andretti Autosport announced the two-time Indianapolis 500-winner's sons, Sebastian and Oliver, will join the team's development program as junior drivers. Sebastian is 12, Oliver is 10, and both are ready to take up their father's career.
Said team owner Michael Andretti:
"Dan was family to us, and we had a lot of on track success together, we see a lot of Dan in both Sebastian and Oliver and are very proud to officially welcome them into our racing family. No one will ever be able to replace Dan in their lives, but we're happy to offer a network for mentorship to help the boys grow their careers. Karting is the first step, but we have hopes of helping foster promising Road to Indy, and eventually even IndyCar opportunities."
Dan Wheldon raced for Andretti from 2003 to 2005, winning his first Indy 500 in his final year with the team. In 128 career starts, Wheldon won 16 races. He died in 2011 following a crash at the IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The night before the crash, Wheldon had signed a contract to return to Andretti for the 2012 season.
Now his two sons are joining the Andretti family.
"Racing runs deep in their DNA," their mother, Susie Wheldon, told the Associated Press. "There have been many summer days where I have been sitting all day in the middle of a field in central Florida asking them 'Are you sure this is what you want to do?' But they do, they have a passion for it, and now they have a path."