A multi-car crash in the opening laps of the 2011 IndyCar season finale at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway resulted to the death of Dan Wheldon, who won the Indianapolis 500 two times. Wheldon was only 33 years old. A total of 15 cars were destroyed as they exploded and were on fire as debris was scattered everywhere.
Numerous other drivers got hurt. IndyCar officials decided to cancel the race. The drivers who were left went around the Las Vegas circuit for five laps in Wheldon’s honor.
Weldon, who was the 2005 IndyCar series champion, won this year’s 2011 Indy 500. He began his racing career in 2002 and won a total of 16 races. This is the second time that he was the winner of the race. Wheldon, a native of Emberton, England, is the first IndyCar series driver to die on the track since Paul Dana died during a practice lap at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2006.
In 2011, Wheldon could only be considered a part-time driver as he only participated in five events. He joined the Las Vegas finale as an attempt to get a $5 million victory bonus the series had offered to drivers who weren’t racing full-time this year. In an official statement, IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said that its “thoughts and prayers” are with his family. Wheldon leaves behind his wife and two young sons.