INDIANAPOLIS — The Wheldon name is back on the victory podium.
Sebastian Wheldon, son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, won his first career race Saturday, winning Race 1 of the Skip Barber Formula Race Series at Virginia International Raceway. The 14-year-old, who started the race from the pole, beat second-place finisher Jeshua Alianell by 6.4 seconds in the 10-lap race.
On its website, the Skip Barber Racing School says their series has "trained more IndyCar drivers than any other program," including Indianapolis 500 winners Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The season champion of the Skip Barber Formula Race Series earns a $100,000 scholarship to advance to USF Juniors next season. USF Juniors is the first step on the "Road To Indy" for aspiring IndyCar drivers.
Wheldon and his younger brother, Oliver, are both following in their famous father's footsteps, a decision their mother, Susie, said her sons made on their own.
"I am here to support their dreams," Susie Wheldon told 13News in 2021. "I find a lot of comfort at the track with my boys. I don't know how to explain it."
The brothers signed junior driver development deals with Andretti Autosport in 2021. The Andretti team and the recently retired Tony Kanaan, a close friend of Dan Wheldon's, celebrated Sebastian's win Saturday.
"Congrats my friend. Awesome," Kanaan wrote.
Last summer, the brothers raced each other in go-karts on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, hoping someday to match their father's accomplishments in the Indy 500.
"It felt good, especially seeing how he was able to win this race and, hopefully, I can do it one day as well," Sebastian said.
Dan Wheldon became the first driver in history to win the Indianapolis 500 while leading only one lap of the race when he passed leader J.R. Hildebrand, who crashed into the Turn 4 wall on the final lap of the 2011 race.
The win was Wheldon's second Indy 500 victory and the final win of his career. He was killed in a crash in the final race of the 2011 season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.