Dan Wheldon Passes Away Following Horrific IndyCar Wreck

Kyle Vassalo@VassaloBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2011

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 16:  The car of Dan Wheldon driver of the #77 Bowers & Wilkins Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara Honda (top left) bursts into flames in a 15 car pile up including the #12 Team Penske Dallara Honda of Will Power during the Las Vegas Indy 300 part of the IZOD IndyCar World Championships presented by Honda on September 16, 2011 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon has reportedly passed away following a tragic and horrific IndyCar crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Fifteen cars were involved in the fatal accident, and Wheldon's passing was confirmed today by a tweet from NBC Sports:

It's hard to recall a more gruesome crash in IndyCar. Right away, it was apparent that serious injuries were sustained. Despite the reported 20 doctors tending to Wheldon, his life-threatening injuries proved to be fatal.

This death has shaken the entire racing community. Wheldon was a respected driver and an even more respected man. A family man, Wheldon's unfortunate departure certainly puts things into perspective.

His loss will be felt far beyond the race track. While clearly racing has lost an outstanding driver, the world has also lost a great person.

Wheldon is described as one of the most popular drivers in open-wheel racing. The accident couldn't have happened at a more unfortunate time to a person who deserved so much more.

The race was called, but the drivers did a five-lap tribute to honor Wheldon once it ended. Wheldon was highly successful and was set to step into Danica Patrick's role for Andretti Autosport.

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Wheldon's 16 career wins don't tell his entire story. He's an irreplaceable driver and will be sorely missed by those closest to him and the entire sports world.

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