Dan Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, died after sustaining injuries to his head from a 15-car pile-up at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Clark County, Nev., Coroner Michael Murphy confirmed.
Wheldon drove into a 15-car pile-up that resulted in his car slamming into another and catapulting into a catch fence, cockpit-first, where it burst into flames. He was declared dead at 1:54 p.m. at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he was airlifted to after the crash.
His death was declared an accident, following the postmortem reports. Officially, he suffered blunt trauma to the head due to a motor vehicle collision, The Telegraph reported.
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.
Due to Wheldon's death the race was called off, and drivers drove a five-lap salute to him. The three other drivers who were injured in the crash were released from the hospital.
Darren Turner, an English racing driver, has been named as replacement for Wheldon for this weekend's Armor All Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. The weekend's events will include a tribute to Wheldon.
Sam Schmidt, a former IRL driver and current IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights Series team owner, said Monday that Wheldon's death had left him shaken enough to leave the sport he loves.
I still feel like I'm in a state of shock, said Schmidt.
Wheldon and Schmidt had teamed up to try for a $5 million prize, offered by IndyCar, to any non-full-time driver who could win the race.