Monday, October 17, 2011

"I love auto racing", "The crashes are spectacular..."

This is the usual response when I ask people how they can watch NASCAR, or INDY car racing. Finally, you have pay-off. A firey crash resulting in the death of a young man.

R.I.P...........Dan Wheldon.

(CBS/AP)
LAS VEGAS — Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after his car became ensnared in a fiery 15-car pileup, flew over another vehicle and landed in a catch fence just outside turn 2.



The 33-year-old racer was a two-time Indy winner, including this year's race.



Three other drivers, including championship contender Will Power, were hurt in the pileup during Lap 11.



Wheldon was airlifted from the track to University Medical Center; about two hours later, his colleagues were told of his death by IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, who said Wheldon's injuries were "unsurvivable."



"One minute you're joking around at driver intros. The next, Dan's gone," said Dario Franchitti, whose wife, actress Ashley Judd, had to bring him a box of tissues. "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."



With the race cancelled, drivers, many sobbing openly, took part in a five-lap salute around the oval in honour of one of the sport's biggest stars.



The race was only minutes old when Wheldon, who started at the back of the 34-car field and was in position for a US $5-million payday if he had won, couldn't steer clear of a wreck that started when two cars touched tires.



Within seconds, several cars burst into flames and debris covered the track nearly halfway up the straightaway. Some points of impact were so devastating workers had to patch holes in the asphalt.




The deadly realities of racecar driving
Fellow drivers remember Dan Wheldon
Read Dan Wheldon's May, 2011, interview with CBS' Early Show

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