British IndyCar Star Dan Wheldon Killed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

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Young Academic can bring tragic news regarding the death of British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon. The sport’s 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner and one of the most popular drivers in open-wheel racing died yesterday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. An awful multi-car crash on Lap 11 of the IndyCar Series season finale unfortunately inflicted ‘unsurvivable’ wounds to the father of two from Emberton.

Officials decided to call the race, but the drivers, many of which were sobbing openly, participated in a five-lap tribute to Wheldon. The IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard made the official announcement of Wheldon’s death and the statement can be viewed via the above video – courtesy of ESPN

“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 was airlifted from the Las Vegas track at 13:19 local time yesterday and taken to University Medical Center. Tragically, efforts to save him proved futile as the driver become the first IndyCar driver to die on the track since rookie Paul Dana.

“One minute you’re joking around at driver intros. The next, Dan’s gone,” said Dario Franchitti, his wife, actress Ashley Judd, was required to bring him tissues as he struggled to comprehend the day’s events. “I lost, we lost, a good friend. Everybody in the IndyCar series considered him a friend. He was such a good guy. He was a charmer.”

Wheldon, just thirty three years-old, was competing in only his third IndyCar race of the season, as he attempted to earn a $5 million bonus that was part of a league promotion as he wasn’t competing on a full time basis.

Dan Wheldon won 16 races in a glittering IndyCar Series career, along with two Indianapolis 500s, this included this year’s 95th running and one title. He was killed on the 11th lap of the Honda Indy 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday 16th October 2011. He left behind a wife, Susie and two sons, 2-year-old Sebastian and 6-month-old Oliver.

Young Academic’s thoughts are with the immediate friends and family of Dan today. Look out for future features including a celebration of Dan Wheldon’s life and career.

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