Dan Wheldon began 2011 unemployed, won the Indianapolis 500, then went back to looking for a job. On Sunday Wheldon, 33, died in a violent 15-car wreck at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The New York Times reported that Wheldon’s car went airborne and hit the catch fence 12 laps into the race. He was then airlifted to University Medical Center. Jay Hart of Yahoo Sports reported that the race was stopped for over two hours after the accident. When it was learned that Wheldon had died, drivers decided not to race, and drove a five-lap tribute.
Wheldon had to drive in the 2011 Indy 500 through a deal made by friend and team owner Bryan Herta. He was only racing Sunday because IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard offered a $5 million award to any non-series regular who could win the finale, and Wheldon was eligible.