Dan Wheldon died Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the age of 33. The 2-time Indianapolis 500 winner was caught up in a fiery 15-car pileup. His car took flight over another vehicle and landed in a catch fence just outside turn 2.
Three other drivers, including championship contender Will Power, were injured and sent to a nearby hospital. The race was officially canceled after a 2 hour Red flag and the remaining teams did a five lap salute to Dan Wheldon around the Vegas track. The last time a fatality occurred at an Indycar event was in 2006 when Paul Dana was killed at Homestead. Many drivers and teams had expressed concerned about the high speeds at the track, where they were hitting nearly 225 mph during practice.
Wheldon was in Sunday’s at Las Vegas the Indycar season finale, thanks to Indycar CEO Randy Bernard’s promotion that promised $5 million to any moonlighting driver who could win the IndyCar season finale at Vegas. At the time of the crash Wheldon gained over ten spots on the track.
“IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries,” Bernard said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race. In honor of Dan Wheldon, the drivers have decided to do a five-lap salute to in his honor.”
Wheldon was rumoured to replace Danica Patrick next season in the Go-Daddy-sponsored car for Andretti Autosport.
June 22, 1978-October 16, 2011
Hometown: Emberton, England
Residence: St. Petersburg, Fla.
16 wins, 134 Indycar Starts, 5 Poles, 93 Top 10′s
2005 Indycar Championship