On October 16, 2011, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, was killed in a multicar crash at the Las Vegas Indy 300. A Sports Illustrated writer named Jon Wertheim said, "[th]e fact of the matter is, you're dealing with very, very fast automobiles. They're not heavy cars. ... There is, unfortunately, an assumption of risk when you get into one of those race cars." Wheldon was amongst the middle of all the cars when he drove right into all of the other cars crashing into each other. His car clipped another which caused his vehicle to fly into the air and burst into flames as it crashed into a fence. The accident happened after only 11 laps out of 200. Before the race even started there was a fear that the high-speed (the cars were going 225 mph during practice) and the crowded track (34 cars) would cause aggressive driving early on.
The pile up began when two of the cars touched tires and no one behind them had time to react. Two hours after the crash, announcers told the audience that Wheldon had passed due to unsurvivable injuries. The race track was very emotional and other drivers and the audience were seen with visible tears. In his honor, the other drivers made a 5 lap salute on the 1.5 mile oval track. Two other drivers had to stay in the hospital overnight due to their injuries.