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Horrific crash at Las Vegas Indy Car race
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Horrific crash at Las Vegas Indy Car race - October 16, 2011, 05:58 PM

Dan Wheldon dies following IndyCar crash at Vegas - ESPN


Quote:
LAS VEGAS -- Dan Wheldon, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner and one of the most popular drivers in open-wheel racing, died Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a horrific multi-car crash only 11 laps into the IndyCar Series season finale.
[+] EnlargeJennifer Stewart/US PresswireDan Wheldon (77) goes airborne during a fiery 15-car wreck during the IndyCar race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon died following the accident.


Officials decided to call the race, but the drivers did a five-lap tribute to Wheldon. IndyCar Series CEORandy Bernard made the officials announcmeent of Wheldon's death without further comment.
"IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," Bernard said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race. In honor of Dan Wheldon, the drivers have decided to do a five-lap salute to in his honor."
Wheldon, 33 and the 2005 series champion from Emberton, England, was competing in only his third IndyCar race of the season, trying to win the event and earn a $5 million bonus that was part of a league promotion for drivers who didn't compete full-time in the series this year.
Wheldon was the only driver to accept the challenge. This year's Indy 500 was the second time Wheldon had won the prestigious event. He also won it in 2005.
Wheldon was expected to replace Danica Patrick next season in the Go-Daddy-sponsored car for Andretti Autosport.
Patrick is moving to NASCAR full-time in 2012.
Wheldon raced for Michael Andretti's team previously from 2003 through 2005 when he won the championship. Wheldon won 16 races in his nine-year IndyCar career.


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October 16, 2011, 06:10 PM

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October 16, 2011, 06:10 PM

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October 16, 2011, 06:32 PM

Damn. Rip


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October 16, 2011, 07:12 PM

Shit. He was a good driver too.
And to die on the final race of the season.

RIP.



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October 16, 2011, 10:38 PM

Yeah that crash is unbelievable. How anyone (even the other drivers) could survive that is crazy.

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October 17, 2011, 02:08 AM

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October 17, 2011, 07:08 AM

RIP, incredible loss


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October 17, 2011, 09:14 AM

RIP.


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October 17, 2011, 09:15 AM

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October 17, 2011, 09:19 AM

Very sad RIP
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October 18, 2011, 12:06 PM



INDYCAR: Dallara To Dedicate 2012 Car In Honor Of Wheldon


Sidenote: Had this chassis be used in the race, Wheldon would have been alive. The anti-wheel to wheel enclosures in the rear of the car would have prevented the contact that touched off the accident and sent the cars airborne.

Dan Wheldon played integral role in development of new-generation Indy car...
IZOD IndyCar Series | Posted October 17, 2011

Dan Wheldon was the first to drive the new-generation Indy car and had played an integral role in its development. (Photo: LAT)
Three weeks ago, on a bright but chilly morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Dan Wheldon was in his usual jovial mood. Coffee cup in hand, he chatted up Firestone Racing and Bryan Herta Autosport personnel about car balance, tire grip and even vacation time.

Any time at the hall of motorsports innovation was a grand time for the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, and this day was special as the seven-week validation program for the Dallara Automobili chassis that will be employed in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series was coming to a close.

Wheldon was the test driver, selected by INDYCAR and Dallara along with Bryan Herta Autosport to prepare the car for tedious but tenacious testing on a variety of racetracks. In one respect, Wheldon was the test pilot – not unlike Chuck Yeager, but at much slower speeds. He’d follow the plan, wait dutifully for alterations and then provide feedback that the myriad of telemetry data points couldn’t relay.

“He gave it 100 percent as he always did everything,” said INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips, who oversaw the program in conjunction with Dallara engineers. “You couldn’t ask for a more willing or better participant.

“His input was just fantastic; it was all about making a better product and a safer car for the drivers and a better show for the fans. It’s very difficult not having his continued presence to carry it through. But it would be doing him a disservice if we didn’t continue to push the safety. He’ll be sorely missed.”

The 2012 car, which was designed with cockpit safety enhancements and body styling to reduce the incidence of wheel-to-wheel contact, will replace the chassis that has been in use since 2003. After wind tunnel and crash testing, the car debuted in early August at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with Wheldon behind the wheel.

The validation program was successful, Phillips said, in that it demonstrated the attributes sought on road courses and ovals. It also unearthed minor issues that Dallara is rectifying for the production cars due to teams in mid-December. Wheldon was bullish on the car, citing its maneuverability, improved sightlines and generous padding in the cockpit.

He especially liked the sound of the turbocharged engine that will be employed for 2012 from Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus. Manufacturer development of the V-6, direct-injection engines fueled by E85 began in Oct. 4. Honda and Chevrolet cars took demonstration laps at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 15. Wheldon was the test driver for Honda’s V-8 IndyCar engine almost a decade ago.

Flags flew at half-staff at Dallara Automobili headquarters in Parma, Italy, on Oct. 17.

“Dan lives in the memory of everybody at Dallara,” company president and founder Gianpaolo Dallara said. “He has been a true champion; not only because of his many victories, but and above everything else, because he has been a true and warm man to all the people he encountered.

“All people at Dallara always enjoyed meeting him in Italy and in the USA. We will honor his memory for the years to come by dedicating the Dallara IndyCar 2012 in his name. He deserves that.”



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October 18, 2011, 12:25 PM

Damn what a shame. Its hard to speculate and easy to say that he would have been alive if he was in that car. That chassis helps to reduce wheel to wheel contact but does not eliminate it all together. Would his chances of living through a crash have been better is he was in that chassis, Yes probably. Would he have still been alive knowbody knows or ever will.





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October 18, 2011, 02:45 PM

shit was mayhem....
i watch the series along with 3 other car series...
I always wondered how safe the open cockpit was. Watching the baltimore race I just kept thinking if you flip you would hurt your neck some kinda way...

Sad stuff....


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December 8, 2011, 08:01 PM

IndyCar Series won't race in Las Vegas in 2012 following Dan Wheldon's death - ESPN

Quote:
The IndyCar Series will not return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next season, and its future at the track depends in part on what it learns from the investigation into Dan Wheldon's fatal accident.

Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, was killed in the opening laps of the Oct. 16 season finale at Las Vegas. The investigation into the 15-car fatal accident is ongoing, and IndyCar has postponed releasing its 2012 schedule until it determines if the series can continue racing on high-banked ovals such as Las Vegas.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. owner Bruton Smith was adamant he wanted IndyCar to honor the three-year lease deal it has with Las Vegas, but IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard had been reluctant to return to the speedway.

Smith told The Associated Press on Thursday that SMI agreed to a buyout of 2012, and the final season of the contract will be reviewed later.

Bernard confirmed he'd come to an agreement with SMI.

"We're not guaranteeing we'll be back," Bernard said. "But we'll test there, and we'll see what we can learn."

No matter the results, concerns remain about the emotional issues the series would face upon returning to Las Vegas.


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