He should know best.

They were teammates for years at Andretti Green Racing. There were pre-races and races and, of course, hanging out outside of the track.

In fact it was Tony Kanaan that threw a pie in the face of Dan Wheldon during the awards banquet for the Indianapolis 500 that he won in 2005.

Friends often tend to think alike in the best and worst of times-even when the latter is at the extreme.

This was the situation that Kanaan faced standing in pit lane at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, forced to reflect on the death of Wheldon. He was killed in a fiery crash that sent him airborne into the catch fence and back down again, one in which Wheldon sustained unrecoverable head injuries.

With that moment in mind, the veteran driver answered a simple question with a direct answer.

"If your could ask anybody in this field if we could chose a way to go, that's the way," said Kanaan when asked about Wheldon's desire to race, even though it was just to try and win the five million dollar challenge. "That car he loved He was made as hell he was not in a car this year and that's why he accepted to develop the new car so he could get a job."

Along with sadness over his sudden death Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Izod IndyCar Series World Championship race, those drivers close to Wheldon we're quick to remember his life of passion both on and off the racetrack.

"He's one of those special, special people from when he first came into IndyCar," said former teammate Dario Franchitti-who was declared the series champion when Sunday's race was ended after 11 laps.

His statistics would say that so. He was twice a champion of the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and this past May and won 16 races and five pole positions in 128 IndyCar starts since 2002. Despite not having a ride for the 2011 season, Wheldon's expertise helped him earn the job as the new test driver for the new 2012 IndyCar series car.

"He had an infectious way about himself and he could smell the front. When he got a sniff of the front that was it," said team owner Chip Ganassi, whom Wheldon drove for from 2006-2008. "He won his first race out for us."

"You understood what he had. He had that special thing."

Wheldon's personality was the most talked about, especially its transition since his win at the Indianapolis 500 in 2005. Often viewed as somewhat cocky in his early days, fellow drivers were impressed with the way in which Wheldon carried himself later in his career and with his wife Suzie and two children.

"He was the brash and all that stuff, but he was a charmer," said Franchitti. "Then he became this loving family guy, he was still charming, but he had this new side to him.

"When I think about him I'm struggling to hold it together."

Many others were as well, with tears coming from many of the drivers eyes when the emerged from a meeting in which they were told of Wheldon's death.

"This is a dangerous sports, I know we're and we're exposed to that every day, in normal life as well, but you don't think about it," said Kanaan. "Today you have to think about it. We lost one of my best friends, my greatest teammates."

Who at least in his mind went out doing exactly what he wanted.