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#21
Caveman-kwebb99

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I will try to be as elegant as can be expected from me.  Dave Wheeler what can you say about a tough old bird like that?  He was sometimes tough on the outside but you could see right through that to the soft side hiding beneath.  He was sometimes fiery, at all times passionate, and so full of energy for racing and specifically for SM.  He and Ann, made me feel like I was family, sometimes just sitting around under the stars talking about life and racing at the end of a night.  I'm sure he and Ann had no idea what their friendship has meant to me over the years, I'm sure he's looking down now as I write this so I want you to know Dave, you and Ann will truly be missed by myself and countless others.  

 

My prayers now are for Ben, Bob, and rest of the Advanced Autosports Family, employees and customers.  Dave and Ann I am sure are in a much better place and hopefully we will all see them again in our due time.  

 

Going to be another hard year attending the Northern conf races, I know I will miss seeing them both, sharing a drink and some good laughs and smiles.  Last year was tough enough with the loss of Ann! 

 

May God bless and console all of you who have dealt with the loss of loved ones over the last few years! And may we all cherish the moments that come randomly throughout life from day to day to truly take the time to say the things we need to say before we don't have the chance.


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#22
Mike Collins

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I worked with Dave for YEARS on the SMAC, we've stayed close for a long time. Even when he was going through all that he had going on he would take the time to call and ask me how I was doing. I am deeply saddened by his loss but know that he has left his mark on this earth and this class. You will be missed, my friend.


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#23
Sphinx

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I just read about this this morning:  https://www.windingr..._eid=165f68298a

 

So sad.  He's been helpful to me over the years with his advice, and I appreciated it.  Condolences to his family and to all who he touched.



#24
Ron Alan

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Its rare you can say someone left their mark on you having never met them face to face. But Dave was that guy...between phone conversations and his words on this forum, his insights were always spot on. Dave Wheeler and Spec Miata will always belong in the same sentence. The loss to the community will be lasting. Internet hugs to those he leaves to soldier on  :prayer:

We will miss you Dave...Godspeed :angel:  


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#25
Tom Hampton

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Well said, Ron. I'm in the same boat. I never had the privilege of meeting the man in person, but spoke with him many times on the phone. He was a true ambassador.

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#26
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Very sad.. Dave was kind man always eager to help. A true ambassador to our sport and important member of the Spec Miata community. He will be missed greatly by all those who knew him.. 


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#27
Michael Colangelo

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RIP, Dave.  The racing world is a lesser place without you.



#28
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This year has sucked, I lost two of my dear racing friends.  Dave and Ann, Godspeed and rest in peace in each others arms knowing you have touched many lives in a positive way.  


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#29
lillyweld

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Wow, what a great guy. Boy will you be missed, Dave. God bless and God's speed.


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#30
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This is a Sad day and so difficult on his family. As others have said, he is in a better place and with Ann now. I am sure we will do something in the Northern conference to honor Dave and Ann and the mark they left on this class. 

 

Dave was one of the first to welcome me and many others into this class and we stayed friends thereafter.

 

Jeff (Lucky) was kicking around some ideas about how through SCCA we can Honor the Wheeler's. Stay tuned.

 

One thing is for sure the paddock is will not be the same going forward.


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#31
Stewart Engines

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Hello Everyone! This is Melissa Stewart. Jim Stewart’s wife from Stewart Engines. I just found out about Dave. This breaks my heart. Dave was so close with Jim. He did business with him for many years. We would travel to WI frequently to do business. I met him and he was a great guy. My hubby respected him and was sad to here about Ann when she passed. I see it like this. Jim and Dave are in heaven building some kick ass motors. RIP Dave! Say Hi to my hubby. I miss him so much.??
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#32
Tom Sager

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Services for Dave.

 

https://www.honquest...s/David-Wheeler


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#33
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Thanks Tom, I said a prayer with Dave on Tue. the 11th. in Rockford.


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#34
Johnny D

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Very sad. Thoughts and prayers to the family. It says in lieu of flowers below but what about his kids (a fund)? just asking.

 

Remembering Dave Wheeler

 

WheelerObit1-400x244.jpg

 

A Spec Miata stalwart and recipient of the Spirit of Mazda award leaves a big hole in the Mazda community

 

Dave Wheeler – racer, owner of Advanced Autosports, writer of The Spec Miata Constructor’s Manual, one of the first recipients of the Spirit of Mazda award and a friend to Mazda racers everywhere – passed away on Dec. 12, leaving a massive hole in the Mazda Motorsports community. He joins his wife, Ann O’Malley, herself a posthumous Spirit of Mazda winner, who passed away earlier this year.

 

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials be made in Dave’s name to Lemons of Love.
You can do so by clicking here.

 

“First and foremost, he cared about his family and took care of them above all else, always,” says John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports. “Losing Ann was a big blow, but he kept busy and tried to focus on his family.

 

“Second, Dave was and always has been, through and through, a racer. What he accomplished by building a successful racing business is rare. Yet, he did this by focusing on giving his customers good value and an even better experience. Don’t get me wrong, he had fun as a driver, for sure, but I think he got even more enjoyment out of seeing his customers enjoy themselves behind the wheel and at the track. Dave was a racer who built a business for racers. Frankly, he did what we stand for at Mazda.”

 

Wheeler2-400x370.jpg

 

Wheeler built a business, but also a family. O’Malley wasn’t involved in racing when they met, but she came to love the sport and became immersed. She jumped in and took care of Advanced Autosports’ customers at the track, she helped run the business, and she credited the crew with keeping Advanced Autosports going when Wheeler was battling illness. But that family went well beyond relatives and employees.

 

“He always says he was a child that played with toy cars, and he still does the same thing as an adult,” said O’Malley in 2015 when Wheeler won the Spirit of Mazda. “He’s very into his cars and customers and he considers everyone one big family.”

 

Wheeler not only put more than 150 Spec Miatas on the track for customers, he gave back to the community by serving on the Spec Miata Advisory Committee for SCCA. His dedication and helpfulness to many, customers and non-customers alike, was evident as Spec Miata Facebook pages and forums lit up with tributes to Wheeler as news of his passing spread: “Amazing man with a big heart,” said one; “…an ambassador of Spec Miata and always willing to pass on his knowledge to fellow racers,” said another. That helpfulness and hard work for the sport comes down to the fact that he was simply passionate about racing.

 

“A few years ago, Dave and Ann came to the Rolex 24 as Mazda guests,” recounts Doonan. “Dave had been part of teams competing there in the past. As a ‘returner’ to the 24-hour race, you would expect that about 2 or 3 a.m. you would see him napping in his rental car or off in a corner of a hospitality suite somewhere catching a nap. Not Dave and not Ann. They were front and center on our outdoor patio enjoying every minute of the race. That is what real racers do.

 

“I will miss you, Dave, for what you brought to our Mazda program and our sport overall; but most of all for the friend you were to me and hundreds and hundreds of others.”

 

WheelerObit3.jpg


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#35
loudes13

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I don’t know how to post this image from my phone, but I teared up when I saw this as I pulled up at the funeral home.

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#36
Steve Scheifler

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#37
Craig Berry

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This one is tough to deal with. Miss both Dave and Ann. Dave was one of a kind... in the category of tough but fair.

Drago and I used his trackside (i think it was 2013) @ Sebring, and I think I finished 2nd, Jim 3rd or 4th, and I think Voytek was 5th... he was so happy to have the cars under his tent do so well. The backstory is that he took Drago out behind his trailer (we could all hear him yelling) and made it clear that checking the toe after every PRACTICE run, along with all the other “BS” we asked for was unnecessary and he wasn’t paid enough! I always laugh about that weekend, but I know how proud he was when we ran well.

Dave was always one of the first to say congrats, and one of the first to check to see if you needed anything when stuff wasn’t going your way. He always had a part to keep one of our cars going. People like Dave and Ann go back to a different time in racing... I hate to say it, but “old school”, race hard, but at the end of the day shared a beer and stories.

I will miss his thumbs up on the grid. I will miss Dave.
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#38
Bruce McNutt

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Very sad news indeed. I didn't know Dave well, but he was a a huge resource in helping me build my own SM car (actually 3 of them). He was a very nice guy to deal with.  The world needs more people like him for sure! From all of us racers from Atlantic Canada, Godspeed, Dave!



#39
obrut

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I just found out today and I'm a little shocked, I'm sorry I missed the services.  I built my spec miata and bought almost everything from them.  I visited the shop a bunch of times buying parts and during the open house.  Dave and Ann were always great to talk to and they were always happy to go the little extra for everyone. 

 

My condolences to his family and crew.... Dave thanks for everything you did you will truly be missed.



#40
dstevens

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I just heard.  He'll be missed by many.  He's one of those guys that made our little part of the world a better place.


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