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IndyCar's Dan Wheldon Dies In Crash (w/Video)

He was 33.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon joined Ayrton Senna and Dale Earnhardt in the unfortunate confederacy of world-class racing drivers killed in the line of duty on Sunday, when his car was involved in a 15-car crash in the 12th lap of a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Wheldon, 33, was at the back of the pack when the wreck occurred; his car impacted Paul Tracy's and was launched into the air, colliding first with the fence and then with Will Power's wrecked racer. In his nine years in IndyCar, Wheldon racked up 16 wins, including two icy bottles of milk at the Indy 500—one in 2005 while racing for Andretti Green Racing, and one this year as a one-off arrangement with Bryan Herta Autosports.

Wheldon's death was announced approximately two hours after his crash, after being airlifted to a nearby hospital. He is survived by his wife, Susie, his sons Sebastian and Oliver, and his parents and siblings. Our thoughts are with his family. We've included video of the crash below if you're interested in seeing it.

[via The New York Times, Honda]

Press Release:

Dan Wheldon Fatally Injured at Las Vegas 10/16/2011 - LAS VEGAS, Nevada Sunday's season-ending IZOD IndyCar Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was cancelled after a multi-car crash on Lap 11 resulted in fatal injuries for two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon.

Wheldon was one of 15 drivers involved in the collision, which took place in Turn Two, after relatively minor contact between two cars set off a large, chain-reaction crash. Running in the middle of the field, Wheldon's car went airborne before making heavy impact with the retaining wall and catch fencing. He was airlifted to University Medical Center, where he succumbed from his injuries.

Wheldon was a mainstay of the Honda IndyCar program from his debut in 2003 with Andretti Green Racing. In 134 IndyCar race starts, he won 16 times, and recorded 93 top-10 results. Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in 2005, going on to win the series championship that year, and won the '500' again earlier this year. He also scored Honda's first IndyCar victories at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, winning at the Honda-owned circuit in 2004 and again in 2005.

In addition to his parents and siblings, Weldon is survived by his wife, Susie, and sons Sebastian and Oliver.

Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development) on the loss of Dan Wheldon: "For everyone in the Honda family, this is a day of tragedy and incalcuable loss. For us, Dan was more than a driver, he was a member of the Honda family. But most of all, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, wife Susie and two young sons. Dan had a passion for motorsports and a wonderful personality that made him a friend to everyone in the racing community. His talent and dedication were an inspiration to us all. We will miss him terribly, and everyone at Honda extends our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fans across the world."

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