Dan Wheldon

Dan Wheldon killed in crash at IndyCar season finale

IndyCarPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Dan Wheldon, Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/Agajanian
Wheldon pictured at the Indianapolis 500, which he won earlier this year

Dan Wheldon has lost his life following a crash at the start of the IndyCar season finale in Las Vegas.

Wheldon was running in the middle of the 34-car pack when the crash happened after 12 laps had been completed.

He was taken by helicopter to the University Medical Centre but succumbed to his injuries

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard announced the news following a meeting with the drivers. He said: “IndyCar is sad to announce that Dan Wheldon passed away from unsurvivable injuries.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan and his family. IndyCar, its drivers and teams have decided to end the race. We will run a five-lap salute in honour of Dan.”

Fifteen cars were involved in the crash and three other drivers – Will Power, Pippa Mann and JR Hildebrand – were also injured.

The race was red-flagged and stopped following the accident, and abandoned after the news of Wheldon’s condition was announced. The remaining drivers staged a five-lap display run in Wheldon’s honour.

Wheldon, 33, won the IndyCar series in 2005. He won the Indianapolis 500 for the second time earlier this year in addition to the victory he scored in his championship year.

He did not have a full-time drive in the series in 2011 and the Las Vegas event was his third race of the year. He had started the race from last place and was in the running for a special prize of $5 million had he won.


195 comments on “Dan Wheldon killed in crash at IndyCar season finale”

  1. RIP. Terrible day. Perhaps its time for Indycar to spend some time thinking about oval safety. Too many deaths in the past 20 years.

    1. There is a new safer car for next year that Dan helped test

      1. It’s so sad, the new car is specifically designed to prevent these types of accidents. Dan helped develop it and was just one race away, one race too late. It’s all I could think about when I heard the news. I’d maybe, somewhat naively thought we had left this sad era of loosing drivers.

      2. The new chasis wouldn’t have changed anything. Hitting another car from behind at 220 mph will launch you into the air no matter what.

        The problem wasn’t the car. The problem was the track, which was not designed for open-wheel racing, but for stock cars. On top of that, this being the last time they were going to run the current cars, 34 cars were allowed to race in such a small track. We all saw how that ended.

        I was fortunate enough to meet Dan a couple of times, and have two signed photos in my collection. I saw the crash live and I knew it was serious. But almost 24 hrs later I still can believe he is gone.

        1. Victorinox – Spot on it was insane to put 34 cars on a short, 1.5 mile, high speed, 220+MPH, oval and not realize it was inviting disaster. Why? do you suppose 34 rolling billboards was the reason.

          IMO the organizers and governing body have a lot of blame in this tragedy. We all recognize that motorsport is dangerous but unconcionable to stack the odds against the drivers.

  2. tragic, r.i.p

  3. No words… RIP Dan.

  4. What a sad day for motorracing. I´ve never watched IndyCar but this is shocking news. My thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace Dan Wheldon.

  5. I hoped I would never ever see this live again on TV after 1994. Sadly I did.

    A great racer has passed away doing what he lived for, battling through the field from the back of the pack for a chance to win the race.

    Rest In Peace Dan Wheldon.

    1. Me too. It had an eerily similar vibe to that tragic day. I knew it was bad when they’d tarped his car and no others. I think I’m done with oval racing. It never grabbed me in the first place, and this has permanently turned me off.

      1. You just get a horrible feeling when the big crashes come along, felt it in 07 and 09. Just a sick dread in your heart that makes you start hoping for good news.

        This is just too tragic, it’s why F1 is the way it is, exciting as this sort of racing can be, it’s no where near worth it.

        Rest In Peace a champion.

    2. It’s a great flaw of motor racing that this can happen.

      RIP Dan Wheldon.

    3. Brutal scene. Dan was like a mentor to my fellow Angolan driver Duarte Ferreira who drives for Izod team for their Indy Light Championships team.

      What a loss. I hope his family and friends find comfort to face this tragic moment.

    4. Shocking and terrible news. My thoughts and prays with his family.

      We got away with some big crashes this year, the 2 Audis at Le Man spring to mind, which served to remind us that all motorsport is dangerous. Sadly yesterday we wasnt as fortunate and lost a great driver and human being. RIP Dan Wheldon.

  6. RIP Dan Wheldon

  7. Feeling sick after all this. So truly terrible to hear this news.

  8. RIP Dan. Tragic news.

  9. Terrible accident and sad outcome.

    It’s time to re-think oval racing.

  10. Tragic news. On hearing that he had been airlifted I kept hoping that he would okay. Very sad day. RIP Dan.

  11. Horrid. I missed it, but I was linked to the accident (before I was aware of the consequences). Very reminiscent now looking back of Imola ’94, the way the camera cut from the on-board before the fatal accident.

    The real tragedy is not that a man died doing what he loved, it was that he was only in that race due to the $5m dollar bounty race to “add to the show”. Furthermore, if he had been in that race “on merit” (as many would argue he should have been anyway given his win in Indianapolis), it is very possible that he would have been at the pack of the pack.

    1. He already gained 10 spots. He had a great opening race.. But who cares now :(

    2. Flying Lobster 27
      17th October 2011, 9:26

      He definitely was in the race “on merit” – had he not won Indy, he would have been second for a third year in a row.
      He was planning to share the $5M prize money with a lucky fan, which seemed fitting as the race was in Vegas.
      Life is clearly not something to be gambled with though.

      RIP Dan, and, as his crew chief observed after the Indy win: WellDone.

  12. That Dan Wheldon would be the talk of the race today was a sure thing.
    But nobody wanted it in this way :(

    All eyes on him.. Could he deliver that dream ending and take the 5mil dollars. In the end nobody cares.

    It was hearthbreaking to see the drivers in their cars, crying while getting ready for the 5lap salute.

    RIP DAN!

  13. Horrible, so sad to watch it all unfold Live.

    I had been lucky enough never to witness a death in motorsport Live until today. A really really sad day :(

    1. Its a horrid, Horrid feeling :(

    2. I never have. I am so, so glad I went to bed now. I’m so sorry guys. That’s something no-one on this planet wants to see and I pray it never does again. Ever.

      1. I agree, it must have been terrible to watch live. I had a nap, woke up and realised I would have missed the race and found this tragic news.

    3. FlyingLobster27
      17th October 2011, 12:32

      I was watching it live too. The problem is when you watch this sort of thing unfold, once the race is stopped, nothing happens, drivers and teams plod around until officials decide to call a meeting or to restart, but you can’t turn away from it. You want to know as soon as news gets through, and you hope not to hear “he’s gone”.

      To me, this felt reminiscent of Greg Moore, killed in the last race of CART 1999, in car 99, only this time the race was stopped. RIP

      1. I heard it on the radio and it took about 5 hours to find an HQ version of the video. Yes, I watched it, intentionally.

        I, too, thought of Greg Moore’s accident. But that was one of those accidents that you just.can’t.survive.

        I thought of Jeff Krosnoff’s accident, which seemed far more familiar and the only fatal crash I witnessed as it occurred.

  14. R.I.P. Dan Wheldon, terrible day for motor racing.

  15. I saw it live too.. shook me up bad. Never seen anything like it… RIP dan wheldon.

  16. RIP Dan Wheldon :(

  17. Rip Dan Wheldon! Brilliant guy and a talented driver!

  18. streetfightingman
    16th October 2011, 23:35


    very tragic =/

  19. Wow. What a shock. The initial accident didn’t look that bad, just two guys making contact and finding the wall. But then it snowballed and two more cars became airborne, and that was bad enough … but then Wheldon arrived on-scene, sailing through the air, and you knew it was a bad accident. I can only hope he didn’t suffer, that the force of the impact was enough to knock him out and that he never had to feel anything, because that was one of the worst accidents I’ve ever seen.

    Rest in peace.

  20. Just stunned.

    RIP Dan

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