Article first published as Two Time Indy 500 Champion Dan Wheldon Dies in Horrific Vegas Crash on Technorati.
LAS VEGAS – Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon has been killed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a fiery 15-car melee on the 13th lap. Wheldon's car flew over another racer and smashed into a catch fence.
Championship contender Will Power and three others were also injured in the crash.
Wheldon, a two time Indy 500 champion including this year. He was airlifted from the track to University Medical Center where he later died from his injuries.
"IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race."
This was the first IndyCar fatality since driver Paul Dana lost his life at the Homestead track in 2006. Drivers at Las Vegas had expressed concerns about the high speeds where practice was capping out at around 225 mph.
"It was like a movie scene which they try to make as gnarly as possible," said Danica Patrick, making her final IndyCar start. "It was debris everywhere across the whole track, you could smell the smoke, you could see the billowing smoke on the back straight from the car. There was a chunk of fire that we were driving around. You could see cars scattered."
Today marked Wheldon's 134th career start, but only his third of the season.
Points-leader Dario Franchitti avoided the crash and clinched his third straight title.