IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon died from blunt trauma to the head, according to Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy. Wheldon, who was rushed to the hospital after a gruesome 15 car-collision during a race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, expired at 1:54 p.m. local time.
Murphy, who conducted the official autopsy, deemed that the death was accidental.
“We'll be working with family and IndyCar officials and the attending physicians to fully review the case in an effort to improve safety for drivers,” Murphy told The Associated Press.
The crash occurred during the 11th lap of the last race of the IndyCar season.
Daniel was born to be a racer and yesterday left us doing what he loved to do. He was a true champion and a gentleman on and off the track, his father Clive Wheldon said, according to ABC News.
Race car drivers risk their lives every time they are on the track. However, the Las Vegas course where the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner perished was more dangerous than most, and before the race, many drivers had voiced their concern about the track's speed.
We all had a bad feeling about this place in particular just because of the high banking and how easy it was to go flat. And if you give us the opportunity, we are drivers and we try to go to the front. We race each other hard because that's what we do, driver Oriol Servia told ESPN. We knew if could happen, but it's just really sad.
This is not a suitable track, and we seen it today its nowhere to get away from anybody. One small mistake from somebody and there's a massive thing, driver Dario Franchitti said, according to ABC.
Las Vegas Speedway President Chris Powell has defended the run, saying the track was up to code.
We as a speedway make sure we provide a venue that they come in and make an assessment when they're ready to race -- and they did that exact thing, Powell said Monday. Our speedway conforms to every regulation that any sanctioning body has ever held it to, and we're very proud of that.
Still, some competitors thought that that track was too small for such a large race, causing the drivers to ride three or four cars wide.
It's more like 30 airplanes racing together than cars, driver Scott Meadow told ABC.