Dan Wheldon dies in IndyCar crash in Las Vegas

Dan Wheldon has died in a major crash at the Izod IndyCar series finale in Las Vegas.

The 2011 Indianapolis 500 champion went flying into the wall during a 15-car accident on lap 11 of the Izod IndyCar Series World Championship.

Wheldon is the first fatality in the series since Paul Dana died in a warm up session crash at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 26, 2006.

The native of England leaves behind his wife Susie and two sons.

"INDYCAR is sad to announce that Dan Wheldon passed away from unsurvivable injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan and his family. INDYCAR, its drivers and teams have decided to end the race. We will run a five-lap salute in honor of Dan."

Late Sunday night, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway released this statement on the death of Wheldon:

"We are incredibly saddened at the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great champion of the Indianapolis 500 and a wonderful ambassador for the race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of motorsports. Most importantly, he was a fantastic husband, father and man - a good friend to so many in this sport. His memory will live forever at the Speedway, both through the magnitude of his accomplishments on the track and his magnetism off the track. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his entire family, team and fans."

The accident happened on the 11th lap of the race, with a number or cars getting airborne and flying across the track. A chain reaction of accidents followed an initial touch between two cars and when the machines settled, parts were scattered across the track.

Wheldon's car flew into the catch fence during the accident after he got airborne. Emergency crews were working on Wheldon for several minutes around the car. He was eventually airlifted out of the track to University Medical Center where he was ultimately pronounced dead.

Wheldon's car went over the machine of Paul Tracy during the accident and the veteran driver showed concern for Wheldon's health in a post-accident interview with ESPN.

"Just a horrendous accident. Just a lot of prayers right now for Dan because its gonna be a long recovery," said Tracy of Wheldon.

Pippa Mann and JR Hildebrand were taken by ambulance to the University Medical Center as well.

Second place Will Power was also involved in the accident and by being knocked out gives the Izod IndyCar Series championship to Dario Franchitti. Power was eventually taken to University Medical Center complaining of back pain, according to IndyCar.

Others involved in the accident include Vitor Meira, Jay Howard, Wade Cunningham, and Charlie Kimball.

More updates will be coming on Fox59.com as more information becomes avaliable.