Dan Wheldon, one of IndyCar racing’s most popular and talented stars, died Sunday after a massive 15-car wreck at the Las Vegas Indy 300. Drivers were only 11 laps into the race.
Wheldon, racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a chance at $5 million, was in the middle of the pack when he drove into a mess of cars careening off each other in every direction. Unable to avoid the massive wreck ahead, Wheldon clipped another car and flew through the air. He crashed into a fence and his car, sponsored by Justin Timberlake’s clothing line William Rast, burst into flames.
Wheldon was airlifted from the track to University Medical Center, where news of his death was announced two hours later. Also injured were J.R. Hildebrand and Pippa Mann. Both stayed in the hospital overnight. With the speed, close to 225 mph during practice and a packed 34-car field, a large concern to officials was aggressive driving early in the 200-lap race.
IndyCar has not had a fatality since Paul Dana was killed at Homestead in 2006, in a crash that occurred during a morning warmup. Wheldon won the race later that day.
For more on Wheldon, go here.