IndyCar probe under way after Wheldon death

  • Other Sport
  • Friday, 21 Oct 2011

INDIANAPOLIS: IndyCar have launched their probe into the crash in which Dan Wheldon died, and hope to have a preliminary report within weeks, the US open-wheel racing series said in a statement on Wednesday.

Wheldon, a 33-year-old English driver who won the famed Indianapolis 500 twice, died on Sunday when he was caught up in a stunning chain-reaction crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in what would have been IndyCar’s season finale.

Fifteen cars were involved in the fiery melee on the 12th lap, after which the race was cancelled.

“The entire IndyCar family is saddened by Dan Wheldon’s tragic death, and our thoughts continue to be, first and foremost, with Dan’s wife, Susie, and his entire family at this incredibly difficult time,” an IndyCar statement said.

“As part of our standard safety protocol, a full investigation has been launched by IndyCar, with assistance from individual members of various motorsports bodies,” the statement said, but it clarified that neither the International Motoring Federation (FIA) nor the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States (ACCUS) – which serves as the interface between the FIA and US member clubs – were involved in an official capacity.

“We hope to have preliminary findings to report within the next several weeks. In the meantime, it would be inappropriate to comment further until the investigative team has had the opportunity to conclude its work,” the statement said.

IndyCar vowed that the probe would seek to discover if speeds at the Las Vegas track were too high or if the field was too crowded.

Some drivers had predicted a chaotic race on the oval circuit at Las Vegas.

The circuit had been reconfigured to add “progressive banking” designed to increase side-by-side racing, which can be particularly dangerous in open-wheel races. — AFP

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