Following a wreck on lap 12 of the IZOD IndyCar Series Season Finale race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 33-year-old Dan Wheldon has died due to injuries sustained in the crash.
“IndyCar is sad to announce that Dan Wheldon passed away from unsurvivable injuries,” IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said in a statement. “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 honor of Dan.”
Following the press conference of the announcement, the 19 cars that were not involved did five-laps around the track in a 3-wide formation.
The incident happened on lap 12, which saw three cars catch air and involve a total of 15 cars. Multiple replays show the top of Wheldon’s cockpit hitting the catch fence, breaking the hoop.
“I saw two cars touch each other up in front of me and then I tried to slow down, couldn’t slow down,” Paul Tracy told ESPN. “Then Dan’s car, from what I saw in the videos, came over my back wheel and over top of me. Just a horrendous accident.”
“The debris we all had to drive through the lap later, it looked like a war scene from Terminator or something,” Ryan Briscoe added. “I mean, there were just pieces of metal and car on fire in the middle of the track with no car attached to it and just debris everywhere.”
Will Power was transported to hospital following the incident, complaining of back pain, though has since been released. Pippa Mann and JR Hildebrand were also transported to hospital. They both will be kept overnight for observation.
Wheldon was the 2005 IndyCar Series Champion and won theIndianapolis500 twice, including this year’s running. This past season, Wheldon had been running a part-time schedule due to no ride while also testing the new IndyCar for next season.
Wheldon was expected to join Andretti Autosport to compete full-time next season. He leaves behind his wife Suzi and two children.
As a result of the race being canceled, Dario Franchitti wins his fourth IndyCar Series Championship.