| 17.10,11. 04:37 PM |
Indy driver killed in 15-car crash
October 17, 2011
A HORRIFIC multi-car pile-up has claimed the life of father-of-two Dan Wheldon and sent Australian Will Power to hospital with a back injury in a crash one driver described as ``like a war scene from the Terminator'' at the IndyCar championship in Las Vegas,.
The track in Vegas resembled a demolition zone with wreckage from the high-speed accident littering the track as 15 cars collided in the season finale.
Amazing pictures from the crash that claimed Dan Wheldon's life.
News of the death of the English 33-year-old prompted an outpouring of grief from the motor sport community.
"Life is not fair.... we are gonna miss a really great guy........ Dan we r gonna miss u,'' wrote Formula 1 great Juan Pablo Montoya on Twitter.
While Power was miraculously able to walk away from the crash before later going to hospital with back pain, Wheldon, scheduled to race in this weekend's Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercar event as reigning drivers champion James Courtney's co-driver, was killed in the horror crash from "unsurvivable injuries''.
"It was debris everywhere across the whole track, you could smell the smoke, you could see the billowing smoke on the back straight from the car,'' said driver Danica Patrick said.
"There was a chunk of fire that we were driving around. You could see cars scattered.''
Wheldon's car flew through the air and clipped the catch fencing in the accident involving almost half the field with Power's car also flipping during the chaos.
"IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries,'' IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said. after the 483km race was abandoned and Wheldon had been airlifted to hospital.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race.''
Power's No.12 Penkse Racing car was trashed in the pile-up with the Queenslander later taken to University Medical Centre complaining of lower-back pain.
Wheldon, unable to secure a full-time IndyCar ride this season and racing from the back of the field in pursuit of the $5 million offered by IndyCar to a non-series driver who could win the finale, is the first driver to die in IndyCar since Paul Dana's fatal accident during practice at the Miami event in March, 2006.
Australian driver Ryan Briscoe, caught up in the carnage, said he had never seen anything like the crash.
"The debris we all had to drive through the lap later, it looked like a war scene from Terminator or something,'' a shocked Briscoe said.
"I mean, there were just pieces of metal and car on fire in the middle of the track with no car attached to it and just debris everywhere.''
It is unknown whether Briscoe will compete in the Gold Coast 600 this weekend where he is due to partner Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom for the second straight year.
The race abandonment means Scotsman Dario Franchitti retains the world title as he led by 18 points from Power going into the event.
The accident was the second year in a row Power's season ended in a crash in the final race as he chased a title after he clipped a wall in last year's finale when he was leading the championship.