Dan Wheldon crash video

Fatal IndyCar crashes invariably share strangely similar dynamics, where the doomed car flies onto the catch fence at unbelievable speed. The horrific 15-car wreck that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon, the Indianapolis 500 winner, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Lap 13 of the IndyCar Series finale Sunday has turned the spotlight once more on driver safety standards.
Dan Wheldon crash video
The question is - has the Indy Racing League done enough?
Dan Wheldon crash video
One cannot help but wonder why almost all fatalities in IndyCar racing involved a car flying into the catch fence.
Fatal IndyCar Crashes:
Dan Wheldon crash video
Scott Brayton, a race car driver from Michigan, was killed in a similar accident, during practice, after qualifying on pole position for the 80th Indianapolis 500 in 1996. Oddly enough, Wheldon's car was trapped in a horrific 15-car pileup, flew over another vehicle and spun into the catch fence just outside Turn Two.
Dan Wheldon crash video
Both Formula 1 and IndyCar vehicles can travel at speeds well upwards of 300km/h and both cars have a similar shell and basic design. A British IndyCar champion has been killed after his vehicle burst into flames following a high-speed 15-car pile-up.
Dan Wheldon crash video
Dan Wheldon, 33, died while competing in the Las Vegas Indy 300 where drivers reach speeds of up to 225mph in the race for bumper winnings of more than $5million.
Dan Wheldon crash video
Trails of sparks could be seen across the track before Mr Wheldon's car was flung into the air and struck part of the fence outside the bend.
Dan Wheldon crash video
Flames then engulfed Mr Wheldon's shattered vehicle.

Rescue workers were at Mr Wheldon's car quickly, some furiously waving for more help to get to the scene. Mr Wheldon's blue and white car takes off in the air. Milliseconds after the initial impact, Mr Wheldon's car has spun upside down as it hurtles towards the fencing. Will Power's car, right, is just beginning to take off

Will Power's number 12 car is seen flying through the air. Will Power's car lands close to the barrier facing backwards without suffering the severe damage inflicted on Mr Wheldon's vehicle, which is further down the track

The car is upside down and the driver's head has clearly been in contact with the barrier

Fire: Mr Wheldon's car is momentarily lost is a ball of flames as it hits the barrier. 'Unsurvivable injuries: Mr Wheldon's head is flung to the left as his 77 car, now without any wheels, spins away from the fence towards the centre of the track

Medics rush Mr Wheldon's damaged car as it becomes clear that he is severely injured. The race to save his life: Dan Wheldon is loaded into a medical helicopter and airlifted to hospital

Organisers of the race had offered the massive bonus to any non-regular IndyCar driver, such as Wheldon, who had started at the back of the field.


IndyCar driver Danica Patrick: 'There are no words for today. IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe: 'It's a black day for the sport. A little bit of everybody in IndyCar racing died today.'

Great friend. Sam Schmidt, owner of Wheldon's No. 77 Indy-car: 'Dan was a tremendous competitor, a great racer and an even better person. The race was abandoned after the tragedy and as news of Mr Wheldon's death spread there were emotional scenes track side.

IndyCar chief executive Randy Bernard confirmed Mr Wheldon’s death at a press conference.

Fellow driver Dario Franchitti, Wheldon’s former teammate and friend since the age of six, said: 'I’m numb and speechless. 'I think everybody in the IndyCar series considered Dan a friend. Although officials had decided to end the race, after learning of his death, 19 of Mr Wheldon’s fellow drivers went on to perform a five-lap salute in his honour.

When the drivers solemnly returned to the track, Wheldon's No. 77 was the only one on the towering scoreboard.

Franchitti sobbed uncontrollably as he got back into his car for the tribute laps.

Video replays showed Wheldon's car turning over as it was airborne and sailed into what's called the 'catch fence,' which sits over the safety barrier that's designed to give when cars make contact.

Sheer disbelief: Brazilian driver Vitor Meira at a drivers meeting after the deadly crash and, right, crew members look at the remains of one of the crashed cars

Tangled mess: Members of driver Paul Tracy's team inspect the remains of his car

Shocking aftermath: Cars are scattered on the track after a 15 car crash during the Las Vegas Indy 300

Stunned and tearful: Drivers take five tribute laps in Las Vegas on Sunday in honour of Dan Wheldon

Touching tribute: Teams line up on pit row as drivers take five laps in honour of Wheldon
2002: Makes IndyCar debut with Panther Racing.
2003: Wins IndyCar 'Rookie of the Year' for Andretti Green Racing.
2005: Wins the Indianapolis 500 race, becoming the first Englishman to do so since Graham Hill in 1966. Claims IndyCar drivers' championship in second full season.
2011: Joins Bryan Herta Autosport after leaving Panther Racing. May - Wins Indianapolis 500. October 16 - Killed in final IndyCar race of the season at Las Vegas.

Mr Wheldon is the first IndyCar driver to die on the track since rookie Paul Dana was killed in practice on the morning of race day at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2006.

Thirty four were competing in all, but the oval-shaped track in Las Vegas is just 60 per cent as long as races where 33 cars are used.

Mr Wheldon, who lived in St Petersburg, Florida, won the entire IndyCar series championship back in 2005, when he also enjoyed his first triumph in the Indy500 race.

Popular: With his love of racing and golden boy looks, Wheldon was loved among followers of the sport
IndyCar will have new cars in 2012, much of the changes done with a nod for safety.

Wheldon got his first IndyCar Series ride, in 2002, for two races with Panther Racing, then replaced Michael Andretti when Andretti retired the next season and won Rookie of the Year.

Fellow English and Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton, who was the 2008 Formula One World Champion, said: 'This is an extremely sad day. 'He was an extremely talented driver. High-speed crashes have 'killed hundreds' in motorsport

Although great strides have been made in the safety of motor racing, Dan Wheldon's death is a reminder of the dangers inherent in the sport.

The Brazilian was the last driver to die at the wheel of a Formula One car. Dan Wheldon was the first IndyCar series driver to die since Paul Dana's death in 2006. The 30-year-old American driver smashed into a stationary car during a practice session in Miami. The tragedy led to sweeping safety improvements in Nascar, the world's largest governing body for stock car racing.

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