Event organizer Mike Cook said Wheeler was traveling at about 200 mph when his motorcycle began to fishtail, eventually flipping and landing hard on the cage where Wheeler was situated. Cook said that Wheeler was alive when the rescue team pulled him from the wreckage. He died about four hours later in a hospital.
Wheeler was an engineer from Arcadia, California. At the time of his death, he had about 50 years of experience in land speed racing. He was in the process of hand-building a motorcycle that would travel at 400 mph. Wheeler is survived by his wife and two children.
Land speed racers are preparing for the annual Bonneville Speed Week. After being canceled for two years, Bonneville Speed Week is scheduled to return this August.