Tragedy Comes to Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Two-time Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon lost his life on Sunday, when he was involved in a 15-car pileup at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The wreck occurred on just the 11th lap of the race.
Driving the National Guard entry, Dan started in the back, in 34th position, but was steadily moving to mid-pack brief moments after the start of the race. From all reports, Wade Cunningham’s car began to swerve on the track. JR Hildebrand’s tire drove up one of Cunningham’s rear wheels, which sent Hildebrand’s machine skyward.
Will Power also went airborne, flying over Alex Lloyd’s car before finally coming to a rest on its side after being retained by a catch fence.
Dan Wheldon’s car then came into contact with Paul Tracy’s machine, which looked as though it was slowing to avoid the mayhem on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway circuit. Wheldon’s car also went airborne before eventually landing in a catch fence just outside of turn 2.
Pippa Mann and JR Hildebrand were also injured in this tragic accident, which resulted in the cancellation of the race and a very sombre conclusion to the 2011 IndyCar season.
After the track was eventually cleaned of all debris, racers honored Dan Wheldon by driving tribute laps around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway circuit. While drivers slowly lapped the course, “Oh Danny Boy” and then “Amazing Grace” played over the loudspeakers. All team members stood and saluted Danny’s car, which was the only racecar showing on the huge scoreboard.
Dan Wheldon is survived by his wife Susie and their two young children, Sebastian – two years old and Oliver – seven months. He was only 33 years old, which is far too young for someone like Mr. Wheldon.
Redline Review’s Ben Moment had the opportunity to briefly meet Dan Wheldon at the Kentucky 300, which took place two weeks ago. Mr. Wheldon was most gracious with fans. He signed countless autographs and posed for pictures beyond the time allotted during fan appreciation day.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to Mrs. Wheldon, her children, their extended families, IndyCar drivers and teams and IZOD IndyCar fans around the world. We’ve lost an uber talented and competitive racecar driver, but more importantly a great man, who was beloved by countless people, especially those who knew him well. May you rest in peace, Mr. Dan Wheldon. Thank you for gracing us all with your larger than life personality and your luminous spirit.
Dan Wheldon 2010 at Mid-Ohio