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16 Oct 11,, 23:38
Dan Wheldon dead after 15-car crash at Las Vegas Indy 300 (http://www.vancouversun.com/Wheldon+dead+after+crash+Vegas+Indy/5558782/story.html)


LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 16: The car of Dan Wheldon driver of the #77 Bowers & Wilkins Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara Honda (top left) bursts into flames in a 15 car pile up during the Las Vegas Indy 300 part of the IZOD IndyCar World Championships presented by Honda on October 16, 2011 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) OCTOBER 16, 2011 3:18 PM - Driver Dan Wheldon was killed in a crash on Sunday early in the Izod IndyCar Championships in Las Vegas.Wheldon’s car was one of many that went flipped in the air and caught fire.

Wheldon would have shared a $5 million bonus with one fan if he had won the 300-mile race.

The incident on the 11th lap happened when Wade Cunningham ran into the back of J.R. Hildebrand and then Hildebrand’s car went airborne, which triggered the huge wreck. The large stretch of the backstretch was heavily littered with debris, and the SAFER barrier on the outside wall sustained significant damage.

"It was just a horrendous accident,” said Paul Tracy, who was one of the drivers involved in the crash.

Wheldon, in just his third IndyCar start this season, was driving the No.77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, normally occupied by Alex Tagliani. He also drove that car earlier this month at Kentucky, finishing 14th. Wheldon won the Indy 500 for the second time in his career on May 29.

Championship contender Will Power was one of the 15 drivers in the 34-car field who was caught up in the accident. His car went airborne as well, but he did not suffer any injuries. Power entered the last race of the season trailing Dario Franchitti by 18 points.

Franchitti is expected to win his record third straight and fourth overall IndyCar championship. He was running 14th when officials red-flagged the race.

“I love hard racing, but that to me is not really what it is about,” Franchitti said.

Power, Hildebrand and Pippa Mann were transported to the hospital by ground. Shortly after the crash, Power complained of lower back pain. He was walking around before leaving for the hospital. Mann had to be helped out of her car. She was awake and alert.