Susie Wheldon asked if 2:30pm would work as a good time for a call to speak with the family’s newest champion. The offering of a specific time to conduct a formal interview is standard fare, especially with the increasingly busy schedule that athletes and their managers keep these days.

But the timing of this calendar event was rather different: Susie, also known as “Mom,” needed some extra time before the interview because had to pick up her athletes, better known as Sebastian and Oliver, from school.

For Sebastian (pictured above), the eldest of the two sons born to Susie and her late husband Dan Wheldon, the IndyCar champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, 2023 was a transformational year as his first season of junior open-wheel racing delivered six victories, 13 podiums, and the drivers’ title in the Skip Barber Formula Racing Series.

For the offspring of a famous driver, there’s no guarantee the talent possessed by their parents is waiting to be unleashed if they climb into the cockpit and give the sport a try. With Sebastian, big lessons were learned about himself and whether his dad’s immense talent could be summoned as he moved from karts to formula cars.

“It’s given me the confidence and motivation to just keep going,” the 15-year-old told RACER. “This season was important, knowing that it was my rookie year, and first time ever in single-seaters, and I was able to get the championship.”

With the $100,000 advancement prize presented by Skip Barber, Sebastian’s on the move to the USF Championships and its USF Juniors series where he’ll follow the same kind of ladder system that propelled his father to great heights in the late 1990s. He carries the full support of his father’s title-winning IndyCar team as well with career advisement from Andretti Global and backing from its sponsor Gainbridge being carried on the No. 98 VRD Racing entry.

Sebastian’s headed to high school and Oliver, who turns 13 in a few days, has middle school on the horizon. He’ll also follow his brother’s footsteps out of karting and into the Skip Barber Formula Racing Series, which means the Wheldon boys will continue moving in different directions.

Compared to the years where both were with Mom at the kart track, life for the Wheldons in 2024 will be one of moving in different racing circles with Susie in the middle trying to keep her boys on time and organized

“They were both in the same boat at the same place at the same time before, so it was a little bit more manageable,” she said. “But last year, with them in different directions, it was a bit more challenging, and now it’s only becoming more that way, so I have to adjust my life more to fit with theirs. I think the joy for me is just being there and getting a front row seat as they come through the ranks and really chase their dreams. I think for any parent, that is just a beautiful thing.

“But no matter what your kids are doing, with Oliver getting into the Skip Barber stuff, and Sebastian in USF Juniors, I’m just so grateful to be on this journey with them and just to have the support of the racing community. There’s a special group of people that have just really held my boys up and held me up during some difficult times. So it’s just really cool to see things come full circle.”

Led by Dan, racing was once the dominant activity in their lives. It’s taken some time to grow comfortable in rejoining the racing circuit, but with her sons finding the same passion and early success as their father, Susie is finding a joy of her own — in a different form — with the return to the sport.

“It feels like we’re at the karting stage all over again, getting into this new thing for them,” she said. “This is the first step in the single-seater journey, so we’ve put karting behind us and that’s one milestone that we’ve reached. And now we’re setting our sights on the ladder system of open-wheel racing and getting them to the top. We’ll see how it goes. But it’s just been a pleasure to be their mom and walk beside them.”