Dan Wheldon, who won the Indy 500 for the second time in the final straight this year, died in the final Indy Car event of the year. I did not see the crash, nor a replay at this point. The drivers elected to end the race that had only gone 11 laps, and did something I have never seen - a five lap formation salute to Dan.
CBSSports.com has a replay of the wreck, which involved a bunch of cars, but it doesn’t specifically show or focus on Wheldon, rather on other drivers. I’m guessing they intentionally ignored some things in the immediate aftermath.
One thing the clip makes clear is just how tiny those cars are when you take the wheels off of them.
Dan always seemed like an awesome guy in interviews, so sad this happened today. Tony Kannaan was just shattered while waiting to get back into the car for the memorial laps. As fans we all know this can happen at any moment, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with when it does. RIP Dan.
It’s a pretty major blow to the IRL as well. There is already finger-pointing going on that many of the drivers felt Vegas was not a good track for their particular type of racing. Then you have the loss of a popular and successful driver in Wheldon right before they are also going to lose Danica Patrick (who if nothing else brought them attention) to NASCAR. Even NASCAR faced some hard questions after Earnhardt’s death, and that was when that sport was much more popular then IRL has ever been.
That’s still Will Power’s car actually. Multiple cars went airborne and/or caught fire. It’s kind of amazing no one else was killed.
You can see Danicka Patrick’s cam right after (the godaddy car). She avoided the crash completely by basically making a lucky guess and staying inside instead of trying to turn. They only have a split second to decide where to go.
He hit the fence in pretty much the only way that the car wouldn’t be able to do anything at all to protect him. That really sucks. Reminds me of the Formula 1 guy who died when the fire extinguisher from the safety guy hit him in the face. It’s like a pinpoint strike at the weakness of the safety systems.