Dan Wheldon, 2011 Indianapolis 500 champion, has been fatally injured following a multi-car accident on lap 12 of the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He was 33.
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard released the following statement in the media center:
IndyCar is very sad to announce Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries.Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan and his family. IndyCar, its drivers and teams have decided to end the race.IndyCar, its drivers and team owners have decided to end the race. The drivers have decided to do a five-lap salute in his honor. It will be taking place in 10 minutes.
The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 2005 IndyCar Series champion was moving his way through the 34-car field after starting from the back of the field, which was part of his $5 million challenge to win the race. His was one of the last cars to get involved in the crash, and was sent flying from the bottom of the racetrack into the catch fencing above the outside wall.
Wheldon's Sam Schmidt Motorsports car suffered severe damage to the topside, including its rollhoop structure, and once he was extracted and other drivers were treated at the scene, his car was quickly covered with tarpaulin.
Wheldon was airlifted from the circuit's infield care center to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, but all medical efforts were to no avail.