Dan Wheldon, a two-time winner of the most prestigious event in his sport, died yesterday in a multi-car wreck on lap 11 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He was 33.
The tragedy took place during the IndyCar Series season finale, as Wheldon was airlifted from his vehicle around 1:19 p.m. and taken University Medical Center. Soon thereafter, he was was announced as the first IndyCar driver to die on the track since rookie Paul Dana in 2006.
"IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," said CEO Randy Bernard . "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."The accident started when two cars touched tires and others proceeded to crash into them, resulting in multiple explosions and holes in the asphalt. Wheldon's car flipped over and sailed into a fence on the edge of the track. Two other drivers were injured/hospitalized in the wreck.
Officials immediately canceled the rest of the race, though most remaining participants did a five-lap tribute in honor of their fallen friend.
"There are no words for today," Danica Patrick tweeted. "Myself and so many others are devastated. I pray for suzi [Wheldon's wife] and the kids that god will give them strength."