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. Lord Stig (@lord-stig) said on 17th October 2011, 4:17

    Something we never want to see happen. I hope no one needs to ever write those words in a live blog again.

    While now is a time of mourning I think it is still fair to point out that there is something clearly wrong as this should not have happened. I would hope that IndyCar can achieve a level of safety comparable to F1 where a death had not occured in over 15 years.

  2. Very sad. A great talent whose life was tragically cut short in a horrific way.

    Rest in peace.

  3. Sergio Perez (@sergio-perez) said on 17th October 2011, 4:51

    A sad day for motor sport in general. However, this is why we respect drivers so much: they know what they have to face every day when they race, and that is the possibility that they might die on track. This sport is for the fearless, and the danger of facing death is there all the time. That’s why they become legends, they are admired. The expression “Pushing for the limit” also means pushing close to the “edge”- that edge is their lives.

    Dan Wheldon is a legend, a Champion, and will be remembered as such. He is survived by his wife and his 2 beautiful children. Some of us live humble, anonymous lives, far away from living on the edge and putting our lives at risk for pure competition glory and for the entertainment of others. We probably end up living long, boring lives but these guys, they live it to the fullest. They get my respect and admiration for it.

    Dan Wheldon rose above others and won one of motor sport’s most legendary races. For it, he is now part of motor sport history, and a legend that will be remembered. R.I.P.

  4. OG Kush (@ogkush7) said on 17th October 2011, 5:13

    Sad day in Motorsport. RIP Dan Wheldon.

  5. MemorableC (@memorablec) said on 17th October 2011, 5:27

    All we can hope for now is that it was painless and Dan didn’t suffer and hope that as part of Dan’s legacy all the testing he did on the new car this never happen again

  6. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 17th October 2011, 5:59

    My experience at the 500 this year feels all the more poignant now. Strangely, I wasn’t watching tonight. So when I came home and saw a friend posting a memorial picture on facebook, I was shocked and then gutted. We all know these black days will happen no matter how safe we try to make racing. But it doesn’t make them any less hard to swallow. You will be missed, Dan. You were a great driver and a wonderful personality in the booth.

  7. FLMKane said on 17th October 2011, 6:06

    The safety of the cars themselves is way off. They should not burst into flames for one thing

  8. Terribly sad news, RIP Dan Wheldon.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th October 2011, 6:47

    I’m looking at the pictures of the accident, of the replays and the on-borad footage; not out of morbid curiosity, but because I’m trying to understand why this happened, why someone like Wheldon had to be taken from us, and why I’m doused in this numbness for the loss of someone I never knew, someone I never followed, someone who I wouldn’t know from Job if I passed him in the street and it’s not making any sense to me! All I’m seeing is this quarter-mile of devastation, of burning fuel and tyre smoke, and all of it littered with pieces of what use to be racing cars, but is now little more than a tangled ruin of carbon fibre and steel and rubber, and there’s nothing, nothing that can explain it all. I’m trying to quantify it, trying to find a way to say “this is why the accident happened”, but there is no reason to it, no logic or order. There’s just chaos, and in the middle of it, there is a man who is never going to race again, who is never going to feel the sensation of sitting behind the wheel again, never going to stand on a podium again, and there is nothing to explain why it had to happen this way, or why it even happened at all. I’m at a complete loss to explain the way I feel simply because I don’t understand any of it. I can recount the events in the order that they happened, and I can explain how the car is designed to protect the driver, and I can tell you how all the hundred of tiny little factors wove themselves together to form this pattern of ugliness and how changing just one of them, even ever-so-slightly, would have changed all of them, but I cannot explain to you why Dan Wheldon is not coming back, and nobody will tell me why.

  10. Trido (@trido) said on 17th October 2011, 6:57

    Wow, that was horrific.

    I am so sick of American Open Wheelers not doing enough for driver safety. My last straw was the loss of life of Greg Moore a few years back. The terrible crash of Alex Zanardi as well was a tragedy for a talented driver. The number of drivers and spectators killed in Indy makes me sick.

  11. rafe03 said on 17th October 2011, 7:19

    Racing is scary for the participants but we do it anyway. I’ve never felt more alive than when warmed up waiting for the off. I imagine I’m not alone valuing that rush of adrenalin, the tight focus on the challange in front of me, the chance to exercise my skills & talents, the results of months of prep just to get to the start, the quest for the best performance possible, & a lot of other things not thought of til later.

    Though I never knew him, he was me. Doing what he loved! My condolenceces to Dan, his wife & kids, the other drivers in the accident, all the drivers & crews, & all the racing community everywhere.
    The racing world is not quite as bright as it was before his light was cruelly doused. R.I.P. Dan God bless us all. And hope we will do our chosen job to the best of our ability.

    Gonna miss you Dan Wheldon.


  12. DT (@dt) said on 17th October 2011, 7:24

    Very sad news , RIP Dan

  13. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 17th October 2011, 7:35

    Although hè died doing what hè loved most, nobody should die so young

  14. Wonderduck (@wonderduck) said on 17th October 2011, 7:44

    Racing is safer than it was, but it will never be safe. Any time a driver in any classification of motorsports gets behind the wheel, this result is a possibility.

    It’s because racing has become so safe that an incident like this one is so shocking. When you look hard and fast at it, we’re probably lucky that “only” one man was killed.

    But it doesn’t make it easier. As the commentator at the end of the broadcast put it: “Goodbye, Dan.”

  15. pejte (@pejte) said on 17th October 2011, 7:49

    May he rest in peace :(

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