Just hours before the fateful crash, Wheldon had tweeted: "Big day today, $5,000,000.00 at stake!!! Heading to the track."
'I Love the Go-Karts
Born in Emberton, England, he began racing go-karts at the tender age of 4 years old after his father got him started in competitive racing.
"I love the go-karts," he told the Los Angeles Times last week. "I get them up to around 90 on the straights."
He competed in England, winning eight British national titles along the way before moving to St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1999.
After time in a few low-profile series, he joined the IndySeries in 2003. In eight full IndyCar Series seasons, he has posted 132 career starts, collected 26 top-three finishes, 93 top-10 finishes and five pole positions, also winning the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
Wheldon, who won the Indy 500 in 2005 and 2011 and won 16 other races, was set to replace Danica Patrick next season in the Go-Daddy-sponsored car for Andretti Autosport after she moves to NASCAR fulltime in 2012.
Family has been a staple in Wheldon's life. In 2010 he released a photo book in collaboration with photographer Michael Voorhees. The book includes pictures of his wedding, candid photos off the racetrack, as well as a photo tribute to his racing career.
Wheldon said last year of the book: "Lionheart documents my IndyCar Series career starting with my rookie year in 2003 through my Indianapolis 500 win, to this season with Panther Racing. It gives fans a behind the scenes look at my life both on and off the racetrack. I think people who buy this book are really going to enjoy the candid moments captured by photographer Michael Voorhees and I can't thank him enough for his hard work and support on this project."
The Associated Press and ESPN contributed to this report.