IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon
IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon of Britain watches his team work on his car in the pit lane during practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis in this May 8, 2009 file photo. Wheldon died in a horrific IndyCar crash ib Las Vegas on Sunday. Reuters

Dan Wheldon, who was killed in a fiery crash in Las Vegas Sunday, was one of Britain's most successful race car drivers and one of the rare few foreign drivers who made it big in the United States.

Wheldon, who died aged 33, was just one of two British drivers to win America's most famous race, the Indy 500, on more than one occasion. He won it in 2005 and again this year, which was the 100th anniversary of the race.

He was also runner-up in 2009 and 2010 and won the IndyCar Series title in 2005 with a series record six wins.

Wheldon began racing karts when he was four years old and progressed through the junior ranks in his homeland before deciding to move to the U.S. in 1999.

In 2002, he was called up to IndyCar as a test driver, racing in two events, and got a full-time drive with the Andretti team the next season.

In 2003, he was named rookie of the year. The following season, he won three races and finished second in the championship.

The Englishman won the title in 2005 and his first Indy 500 that same season, and almost won a second title in 2006 despite switching teams. He finished level on points with Sam Hornish but lost the title to the American on a countback.

Wheldon flirted with the idea of moving to Formula One and was offered a drive with the BMW Sauber team but turned it down when he was not guaranteed a permanent seat.

He changed teams to Panther Racing in 2009 and did not win a race in either the 2009 or 2010 seasons, although he finished runner-up at Indianapolis both times.

Wheldon was replaced at Panther this season by JR Hildebrand, a young rising star, and did not have a regular drive though he signed a deal to drive with the Bryan Herta Autsport team for the Indy 500.

Hildebrand looked set to win the race but crashed on the last bend, allowing Wheldon to slip past him and triumph for the second time. He was only the 18th man to win the race more than once and the second Briton, after Dario Franchitti.

Wheldon lived in Florida and was survived by his wife and their two young sons.