In what was going to be a very exciting season finale for the IZOD IndyCar World Championship Series turned into a tragedy in just 13 laps and two hours.
A grinding crash between turns 1 and 2 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway collected 15 cars, including that of Dan Wheldon, who was killed as a result of his injuries from the accident.
Starting last in the 34-car field, Wheldon picked his way up to the 24th starting position before he was caught up in the massive melee. Attempting to get through the crash, Wheldon went airborne, with his No. 77 car going into the catchfencing before ultimately smashing into the turn two wall.
Wheldon was airlifted to a local hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries from the accident. Twice an Indianapolis 500 winner and the 2005 IndyCar champion, Wheldon helped develop the 2012 car with advanced safety features for the drivers and teams.
Also, he worked the Indycar on VERSUS broadcasts as a color commentator alongside Bob Jenkins and Jon Beekhuis, offering his unique insights into the sport on his fellow comrades and competitors.
His peers paid tribute by driving around the 1.5-mile speedway in a three-wide formation for five laps, with their crews lined up on pit road to honor their fallen racer.
Dan Wheldon, who is survived by his wife Susie and sons Sebastian and Oliver, along with immediate family, was just 33-years-old. He will be forever missed and remembered by racing fans, competitors, and those whose lives he touched.
We at The Podium Finish as well as FanvsFan send our prayers and condolences to the Wheldon family as well as to his friends, who will be mourning and celebrating the life of perhaps one of racing's most animated but talented drivers in recent memory.