In his first public comments since announcing that Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon had died after Sunday's catastrophic accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard pledged to honor the late driver's memory by carrying out a thorough investigation aimed at preventing such incidents in the future.
"We've got a lot to do, and we don't have any time to mess around," Bernard said in an interview with the Associated Press. "We need answers. We must continue to move forward with a thorough investigation; fortunately, that has already begun, and we have the protocols in place to get this done. This was a tragic accident, and IndyCar needs to understand everything possible about it."
Bernard said Wednesday night that the motorsports industry has banded together this week to focus on supporting Wheldon's family and preparing for his memorial service. A public memorial service is scheduled for Sunday at Conseco Field in downtown Indianapolis, following Wheldon's funeral on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"This has been a very difficult time, but we have to stay focused more than ever right now," Bernard told the AP. "The first thing we have to do is take care of the Wheldon family and make sure we are there to help them anyway we can."
IndyCar has helped launch a memorial website, which includes a Facebook link for fans to leave messages and review a career photo retrospective. The organization also set up Sunday's public memorial service.
"Those were the things that were very important for us to get done as quickly as possible," Bernard said. "Everyone in this community is so focused on letting the Wheldon family know our thoughts and prayers are with them, and we are doing everything we can to support them."
Bernard declined to discuss safety questions surrounding the Las Vegas circuit, saying his focus would be solely on Wheldon this week.