Indy Winner Dan Wheldon Killed in Vegas Crash
Drivers had expressed fears about track, super-fast speeds
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Suggested by anothernewsjunkie
Posted Oct 17, 2011 12:05 AM CDT
Updated Oct 17, 2011 7:58 AM CDT
Drivers, including Dan Wheldon (77, in air at left), crash 15-car wreck in the IndyCar Series' Las Vegas Indy 300.   (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jessica Ebelhar)
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(Newser) – Two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon died yesterday in a horrific 15-car crash in Las Vegas. The fiery accident, which sent three other drivers to the hospital, occurred just days after the 33-year-old British father of two and others expressed fears about crowded conditions and super-fast speeds of up to 225mph on the Vegas track, reports ABC News. Two cars touched tires only minutes into yesterday's race, sparking the deadly smash-up on the 11th lap. "I saw two cars touch each other up in front and I couldn't slow down," driver Paul Tracy told ESPN. "Then Dan's car came over my back wheel and over top of me. Just a horrendous accident."

Wheldon's car sailed into the crash fence surrounding the track and burst into flames. "I've never seen anything like it," driver Ryan Briscoe told AP. "The debris we all had to drive through, it looked like a war scene from Terminator or something. There were pieces of metal and car on fire in the middle of the track with no car attached to it and just debris everywhere. It was scary." Wheldon was airlifted from the track to University Medical Hospital. He died surrounded by his wife, his baby and toddler sons, a brother and sister. Wheldon was the first driver to die from race injuries since 2006. He was competing to win a $5 million bonus. "Big day today," he tweeted before the race. "Heading to the track." (Wheldon had signed a major racing team deal just hours before his death. Click to read about that tragic twist.)
 

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