Driver Dan Wheldon was killed in a crash on Sunday early in the Izod IndyCar Championships in Las Vegas.Wheldon’s car was one of many that went flipped in the air and caught fire.
Wheldon would have shared a $5 million bonus with one fan if he had won the 300-mile race.Wheldon, who won the Indy 500 for the second time this May, won 16 times in his IndyCar career and was the series champion in 2005. He was airlifted from the Las Vegas track at 1:19 p.m.
local time Sunday and taken to a nearby hospital, becoming the first IndyCar driver to die after an on-track crash since rookie Paul Dana was killed in practice on the morning of race day at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2006.
Wheldon, driving from the back of the field for a chance at $5 million, was in the middle of the pack when he drove into a tangle of cars careening off each other in every direction.
Unable to avoid the massive wreck unfolding before him, Wheldon clipped another car and went hurtling through the air, his car bursting into flames as it flew into a fence.
After just 11 laps, the race was over. Two hours later, track officials announced that Wheldon was dead. He was 33.
"One minute you're joking around at driver intros and the next, Dan's gone," said Dario Franchitti, whose wife, actress Ashley Judd, had to bring him a box of tissues. "I lost, we lost, a good friend.
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