The motor sports world has lost one of its great racers. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was tragically killed on Sunday, October 16 in a fiery, 15-car crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that sent his car airborne over another vehicle and landed in a catch fence.
The 33-year-old, who is survived by wife Susie and their two young sons, Sebastian and Oliver, was flown by helicopter to University Medical Center in Las Vegas for treatment following the accident. His death was announced by IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard about two hours later. It was said that his colleagues were told of his death before that.
"IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," Randy said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race." The IndyCar chief executive also revealed that racers have decided to do a five-lap salute in honor of the fallen driver.
Speaking of the car crash, fellow racer Danica Patrick told the Associated Press, "It was like a movie scene which they try to make as gnarly as possible." She later took to Twitter to express her condolence. "There are no words for today. Myself and so many others are devastated. I pray for suzi and the kids that god will give them strength," so she tweeted.
Upon learning about Dan's passing, his former team, Andretti Autosport said in a statement, "It is with extreme sorrow that we have lost one of our champion drivers today. Dan was an Indy 500 Champion and an Indy Series Champion with Andretti Autosport - and one of our closest compeditors. Dan brought such enthusiasm and and passion to the sport not often seen in motorsports."
Reaction also came from Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Jeff Belskus. "We are incredibly saddened at the passing of Dan Wheldon," he said. "He was a great champion of the Indianapolis 500 and a wonderful ambassador for the race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of motorsports. Most importantly, he was a fantastic husband, father and man - a good friend to so many in this sport."