Dan Wheldon Dead: Indy 500 Champ Killed in Fiery Crash at Las Vegas 300

Vance PennCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2011

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Dan Wheldon, was killed today during a fiery 15-car crash during the Las Vegas 300. The race, part of the Izod IndyCar Series, was the race series finale.  

Making only his third start of the year, Wheldon, 33, was racing for a $5 million bonus for he and a fan should he win. He started at the rear of the field in the final 34th position for today's race. He quickly worked himself to the 24th slot after only 12 laps and was rapidly moving up on the lead cars. However, a major crash in front of him launched Wheldon's car, traveling at nearly 225 mph, into the catch-net near turn two where it burst into flames.

The race was red flagged while crews worked to clear the track of debris and repair the damage done during the massive accident.

Medical airlift took Wheldon to University Medical Center in Las Vegas where he was pronounced dead.

Upon being told of Wheldon's passing fellow drivers took part in a five-lap salute in his honor.

The race was red flagged and Dario Franchitti was declared the season champion.

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