18 Oct 2011

Indy Car drivers demand change after tragic day in Las Vegas

6:48 am on 18 October 2011

Sadness over Briton Dan Wheldon's death in a horror Indy Car crash turned to frustration for drivers after fears that the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was unsuitable for a large field were tragically realised.

Indy Car drivers demanded change after officials confirmed Wheldon's death from unsurvivable injuries more than two hours after his car was sent sailing through the air in a fiery wreck that involved 15 of the race's 34 cars.

The crash, just 12 laps into the race, forced the Indy Car season finale to be abandoned.

Scrapping the race meant Scotsman Dario Franchitti retained the world title, his third in a row.

The congested field of 34 cars was considered a factor in the chain reaction that occurred after the wheels of Wade Cunningham and JR Hildebrand touched.

Pole-sitter Tony Kanaan had earlier said a large IndyCar field racing at more than 350kph on high-banked ovals had "potential for disaster".

Straight after the crash, Franchitti, who had known Wheldon since he was six, said: "I said before this is not a suitable track, you can't get away from anybody, one small mistake and you have a massive wreck."

It presents a dilemma for Indy Car organisers who want racing at large ovals like Las Vegas to bring in more fans.