Dan WheldonTragedy struck this weekend's Las Vegas Indy 300, as driver Dan Wheldon, 33, died from injuries sustained in a gruesome 15-car wreck just 13 laps into the race. Wheldon's car sailed through the air outside turn two and smashed into a wall.

Yahoo! reports that the other drivers were told of Wheldon's death at a meeting held two hours after the wreck. Some drivers reportedly called the crash the worst they've ever seen. The crash comes after some drivers voiced concerns about the high speeds reached at the Las Vegas circuit, as cars were traveling at up to 225 miles per hour during practice.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard issued a statement after the race saying that IndyCar "is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries." Bernard went on to announce that the race had been stopped, but drivers chose to salute the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner with a five-lap run in his honor.

Wheldon, a 16-time IndyCar race winner, 2003 rookie of the year and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, including this year's, was among the most skilled drivers in motorsports. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wheldon and his family.

UPDATE: Statement from Honda added after the jump.



Statement from Honda:

Dan Wheldon Fatally Injured at Las Vegas


10/16/2011 - LAS VEGAS, Nevada

Sunday's season-ending IZOD IndyCar Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was cancelled after a multi-car crash on Lap 11 resulted in fatal injuries for two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon.

Wheldon was one of 15 drivers involved in the collision, which took place in Turn Two, after relatively minor contact between two cars set off a large, chain-reaction crash. Running in the middle of the field, Wheldon's car went airborne before making heavy impact with the retaining wall and catch fencing. He was airlifted to University Medical Center, where he succumbed from his injuries.

Wheldon was a mainstay of the Honda IndyCar program from his debut in 2003 with Andretti Green Racing. In 134 IndyCar race starts, he won 16 times, and recorded 93 top-10 results. Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in 2005, going on to win the series championship that year, and won the '500' again earlier this year. He also scored Honda's first IndyCar victories at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, winning at the Honda-owned circuit in 2004 and again in 2005.

In addition to his parents and siblings, Weldon is survived by his wife, Susie, and sons Sebastian and Oliver.

Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development) on the loss of Dan Wheldon: "For everyone in the Honda family, this is a day of tragedy and incalcuable loss. For us, Dan was more than a driver, he was a member of the Honda family. But most of all, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, wife Susie and two young sons. Dan had a passion for motorsports and a wonderful personality that made him a friend to everyone in the racing community. His talent and dedication were an inspiration to us all. We will miss him terribly, and everyone at Honda extends our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fans across the world."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 157 Comments
      Timothy Tibbetts
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wish people could just pay their respects and not join the handful of people who don't have a douchebag off switch on the internet. RIP to Dan Wheldon and my best to his family, friends and fans. This was a horrible tragedy.
      MarioB
      • 3 Years Ago
      Such a talent, terrible news. More over a devastating loss to his wife and 2 young children. There's nothing that can be done to make a car "safe" in a 225 MPH crash. Take your risks to do what you love. RIP Dan, heaven got a lot faster...
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MarioB
        Heaven's been faster ever since Scott Kalitta passed. He drove cars that went over 300mph.
      WillieD
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's incredibly sad.
      protovici
      • 3 Years Ago
      Open wheeled racing, including F1, is a tuff and unforgiving sport!!!! Surviving a crash going airborn over 180 mph is not likely. RIP Dan!
      zplusk_
      • 3 Years Ago
      I felt absolutely miserable hearing about this, just moments after watching Sebastian Vettel cross the finish line at Korea on my DVR. I was a Wheldon fan, and he was a great racer. However, there is a greater issue here. Open wheel racing is the most valiant, bravest, and dangerous sport in the world. I am an enormous Formula 1 fan after only being introduced to it late last season. Formula 1 itself is an incredible dangerous sport, and they do see they're fair share of accidents. Schumacher hit that wall head on at least 60 the other week and popped out as if it was business as usual. Perez hit the chicane barrier at Monaco (one of the single scariest spots in automotive sport) and after a trip to hospital, was fine. Regardless, that barrier is being moved for 2012. Formula 1 is incredibly active with its regulations and adjustments, they continually improve and advance Motorsport to move both faster and safer. Oval track racing is a throw back. Drivers moving over 200mph four wide with open throttles is an incredible thing when you think about it. Street track racing is more entertaining, and creates a staggered position of the field allowing far few multi-car accidents to occur. Indy should move to a street track based sport and become the F1 of America... RIP Wheldon, we'll miss you.
      POV
      • 3 Years Ago
      Motorsports is my obsession but incidents like this remind me that it can be a cruel cruel sport. RIP Dan.
      rtkewley
      • 3 Years Ago
      Very similar to Kenny Brack's near-fatal accident of several years ago - the car flew over another car and into the catch fence, which ripped it apart. Open wheel racing has become so much safer, even in just the last decade, that we tend to forget that things like this can happen.
      mrx19
      • 3 Years Ago
      Robin Miller pretty much explained the problem last night on Wind Tunnel. The new generation of 1.5 mile, high banked tracks, designed specifically for NASCAR, are just not compatible for open wheel cars racing, in packs, at 220 MPH. There is just no time to react. The problem is, that if you eliminate these tracks from the IRL schedule you would have to go basically to an all road course schedule with the exception of Indy. There is just not enough old flat ovals (like Milwaukee) to take their place.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mrx19
        [blocked]
        Agilis
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mrx19
        Finally... this is what I heard last night on Wind tunnel but couldn't make sense of it. What I don't understand is, why is this new generation of 1.5 mile, high banked tracks, designed specially for NASCAR, bad or dangerous for Indy? Is it the length of the track, or the high banked aspect of it?
        neonrt
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mrx19
        They could make some changes and still run ovals. This year they ran at the following US ovals. Indy (basically flat) Texas (24 degree banks) Milwaukee (flat) Iowa (12-14 degree bank) New Hampshire(basically flat) Kentucky (14 degree bank) Las Vegas (20 degree bank) They could easily drop the high bank tracks like Texas and Vegas. They only run a couple races a year at tracks like that. They could add Phoenix (8-12 degree bank) and maybe Pocono (6, 8 , and 14 degree banks). That would be a good start.
          Masschine
          • 3 Years Ago
          @neonrt
          With the Pocono's repaving and a lot of safer barriers the reasons they left, bad surface and walls are gone or will be when they are done.
      WatchF1
      • 3 Years Ago
      What hurts to me is that this is the last season; the last race, even, for this obviously unsafe chassis. The guy was 33 with 2 kids and a wife. He and Dario had JUST announced that they'd be the contributing drivers for a new sim racing game. As to those who say that they watch Indycar racing because there's "a level playing field", then I wonder how you feel about next year, when teams can use 4 or 6 cylinder engines from multiple manufacturers, from varying engine suppliers. Further, how upset are you going to be in 2013, when they allow the body / aero kits into the sport? Death in motorsport sucks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_racing_drivers_who_died_in_racing_crashes Have a look. Life is precious. These guys put their lives on the line EVERY time. It's not for us to criticize their decision to drive. If we should be critical of anything, it should be that the chassis was LONG out of date and wasn't safe. Fortunately, this shouldn't recur next year.
      Elmo
      • 3 Years Ago
      NOW I'm going to negatively criticize AB. Why post the damn video? That is NOT the right thing to do.
        sonicpunk32
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Elmo
        thanks to the video, I get to see what I missed. that is one horrific crash.
        xspeedy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Elmo
        Yes, the right thing to do is confiscate all footage of this happening and to erase any mention of it in the media. And then we can move on to locating you a pair of...
          Michael
          • 3 Years Ago
          @xspeedy
          The footage of Dale Earnhardt's wreck HAS been shown--hell, it's in the biopic that ESPN did on him. It was also shown months after the accident when NASCAR presented their report on the accident.
          Michael
          • 3 Years Ago
          @xspeedy
          I worked on a certain motorsports news show for five years and was in Loudon when Petty died. Matter of fact, I was working with a photographer inside of turns three and four at New Hampshire International Speedway when that accident happened. Also, there's no footage of Adam Petty's wreck because it was during a Friday morning practice at Loudon. TNN had the broadcast that weekend and they hadn't even gotten to their "fax" (equipment check) that day. The aftermath of that wreck is the only footage that exists. Kenny Irwin's wreck happened at a similar time during the racing weekend, almost in the same spot and almost eight weeks to the day after Petty's wreck. Also, there is no footage for the same reason, NOT because a network does not want to show it out of respect. I worked on a certain motorsports news show for five years and was in Loudon when Petty died. Matter of fact, I was working with a photographer inside of turns three and four at New Hampshire International Speedway when that accident happened. If you want proof of anything with the Earnhardt movie, it's called "3." Also, there were numerous news packages on wreck ran on SportsCenter, ESPN News, etc.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @xspeedy
          Did I say that? No. You guys seem to not remember that there was no footage shown of Dale, Sr.'s wreck. Also, you might find out that there is absolutely NO footage of Adam Petty's and Kenny Irwin's fatal accidents. This was all done in respect to their families and friends.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @xspeedy
          Michael, do you have any proof of this? Or are you just going on what you think is memory?
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        Shut up, vwfailsagain...
        blatinotop4u
        • 3 Years Ago
        Banned? You don't even like the sport, so your opinion doesn't mean ****. So you shouldn't even watch it. dumbazz
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      zhuangwenjun
      • 3 Years Ago
      good
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