Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died on Sunday in a tragic crash at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The tragic crash that claimed Wheldon’s life happened early on in the final race of the IndyCar season, just 12 laps in.
Wheldon was involved in a fiery 15-car pile-up when his car flew over 220 miles per hour into a turn and climbed the back of another car bursting into flames.
Wheldon’s car eventually flipped end over end until it slammed into a crash fence above a retaining wall just outside turn two.
He was quickly rushed off to the University Medical Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Three other drivers involved in the crash were hospitalized as well.
Prior to the race, the 33-year-old racecar champion expressed in a blog that he was concerned that he and his team were not going to be able to climb to the speed needed to capture the race.
He wrote, “So far, things haven’t been going very well as we’ve started our pursuit of the GoDaddy IndyCar Challenge this weekend … but I’m confident in the ability of the guys as Sam Schmidt Motorsports to find the problem and get it fixed.”
Other racers reportedly expressed concern over the track’s blinding speeds and Scottish racer Dario Franchitti reiterated the concern following the crash to ABC news.
Franchitti said, “This is not a suitable track, and we have seen it today its nowhere to get away from anybody. One small mistake from somebody and there’s a massive thing.”
Just before the race Wheldon wrote on his blog on USA Today, “This is going to be amazing show.”
He added, “As long as I can find some speed and keep up with the pack, I’ll do everything I can to put on a show.”
Daniel Clive Wheldon was born near Buckinghamshire, England. He moved to the United States to pursue his driving career due to funding concerns in the U.K.
Wheldon leaves behind a wife and two young sons.
Dan Wheldon Dies in Massive Crash at Indy 300 in Las Vegas (WARNING: STRONG CONTENT):