Dan Wheldon killed in crash at IndyCar season finale


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.


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

  1. mantolwen (@mantolwen) said on 16th October 2011, 23:45

    Now is not the time to be getting angry about oval tracks and Indycar safety standards. Deaths happen on road courses too. When emotion has calmed down, the issues behind this tragedy can be examined with logic, and with the goal of making Indycar racing – on ovals and road courses – safer for the future, so that this doesn’t happen again.

    My heart is with the entire Indycar community, and with the Formula One family who will be waking up to this awful news.

  2. Stephen Higgins said on 16th October 2011, 23:48

    When I saw that massive shunt Allan McNish had at Le Mans earlier this year, I thought it was the worst crash I’d ever seen in motor racing, and that it was a miracle no-one was hurt.

    Then I saw what happened to Dan.

    To see a crash that horrific reminded me so much of watching Greg Moore’s fatal accident at California in the final race of the 2000 CART season.

    It seems that every once in a while, motor racing simply runs out of miracles.

    Dan Wheldon was probably the best British driver never to race in F1, and what makes it so sad was that he was only racing as a ‘wildcard’ in the first place.

    I just hope some part of the F1 comunity does something to remember him when we roll up in Dheli.

    R.I.P Daniel Wheldon.

  3. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 16th October 2011, 23:51

    here’s an interview from yesterday:

  4. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 16th October 2011, 23:51

    This is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced live as a racing fan. The thought that it is one billionth of what the people closest to him are going through…

    Now cracks a noble heart.
    Good-night, sweet prince;
    And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

  5. F1 98 said on 16th October 2011, 23:53

    I love indycar but oval racing is such so dangerous

  6. One of open wheels’ worst days since ’94. I am completely shattered.

  7. DrewHowell19 said on 16th October 2011, 23:57

    RIP Dan. My sincerest condolences to him and his family. So sad that he lost his life racing here in our American Indy series. I mourn and have a heavy heart with all of the UK today as we lost an English great.

  8. Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 17th October 2011, 0:01

    Just 5 months ago, I met Dan when he came to race with us at the Florida Winter Tour. Even at the peak of his career he came back to race karts with us at our local tracks, running at the front on the pack the whole time, and then getting out of the kart to talk to all his fans and the kids that idolized him. I remember seeing him, and I even spoke to him for a bit. When he won the Indy 500 this year I was ecstatic, thinking finally he’s back to top form, and I was hoping he’d get a permanent drive for next season. But now, the one race he got a seat for, driving for 5 million dollars, he passed away after an awful accident.

    R.I.P. Dan, you’ll always be our idol

  9. The Limit said on 17th October 2011, 0:04

    My biggest and now fondest memory of Dan Wheldon is the 2007 St Petersburg race. My father cried out his name during the drivers parade and Wheldon spun around to look in our direction, much to my obvious embarrassment. I never knew the man in person, but I respected him as a sportsman and as a human being. And as we debate every two weeks over the performance or lack of of our favourite drivers, often emotions become frayed, but we must never forget that racing is exactly that. A race! It is not life or death, these are human beings just like us who have been given the God given skill to drive at this level.
    As I felt as a thirteen year old when Aryton Senna was killed, I, like alot of you feel very numb. And as I did seventeen years ago I cried, at the total injustice that sometimes life can be. I would like to offer my deepest sympathy to Dan Wheldon’s friends and family on what must be the most difficult of days. Thankyou Dan for everything you did for us all! RIP

  10. JPedroCQF1 (@joao-pedro-cq) said on 17th October 2011, 0:08

    Oh my god, I’ve no words for what I just read. I’m feeling horrible. I can’t believe it. I didn’t really wanted to say this, but I think it’s time for IndyCar to adopt some safety features from F1 cars. Hope next year’s car will be safer.

    RIP Dan Wheldon.

  11. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher) said on 17th October 2011, 0:08


  12. xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 17th October 2011, 0:13

    I don’t even know what to say, R.I.P.

  13. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 17th October 2011, 0:19

    I may not be following IndyCar, but I shall say Rest in Peace, Dan. :'(

  14. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th October 2011, 0:20

    I think we get a little blase about accidents in motorsport. With safety for competitors, teams and spectators being paramount, we do tend to ignore or maginalise it because we assume the survival cell and the protective clothing and the roll hoop will all do their respective jobs and a driver will be alright. From the on-board footage of Wheldon’s car – the camera somehow remained intact past the point of impct – there was no immediately-obvious threat to Wheldon. The survival cell of his car was left intact, and from the on-board camera, he did not appear to be injured to begin with. Taken at face value, the biggest danger to him was a flare up of fuel that burned for a second and then went out (and his helmet and overalls would have protected him from that). It looked like something he could walk away from, maybe a little sore in places, but while we all knew the accident was a bad one, the attitude towards modern motorsports meant that nobody really expressed any concern any driver’s life at the time. Not becaus they didn’t care, but because we no longer really appreciate how dangerous motorsport is.

    • Chops (@chops) said on 17th October 2011, 3:14

      I agree. It has been a big wake up call to me, I feel like a bit of an idiot now for getting to the stage, like you say, where you just expect everything to be ok because that’s what usually happened. I suddenly have less desire to get back into my go-kart and bang wheels at 150km/h.

    • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 17th October 2011, 4:25

      Sounds like you were looking at Will Power’s car. And of course there was concern. How on earth did you get the impression that people weren’t?

      • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 17th October 2011, 9:35

        Yes, on the British Sky feed one of the drivers they had in the studio was clearly choked up and finding it hard to speak even before Dan had been removed from the car, and the presenter was desperately trying to convince us and himself that it didn’t necessarily mean the worst that the helicopter was starting and the car had been covered up.

        I felt sick seeing the crash live; it just looked unreal but you knew it was actually happening…

        • Lee Sharp (@leesharpuk) said on 17th October 2011, 10:34

          That was Johnny Mowlem, he was a close personal friend of Dan. Im amazed he was able to sit there at the end of their coverage to be honest, he was a mess.

          RIP Dan, thanks for the memories, it was a pleasure to be a fan.

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