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Dan Wheldon Dead: Was Indy Car Track Too Crowded, Badly Designed?

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 17, 2011 12:15 PM

IndyCar champ Dan Wheldon was killed over the weekend during a fiery crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The night prior, a number of racers, including Wheldon, raised concerns about the track's safety. The 1.5-mile oval is traditionally used for NASCAR races, which run at significantly lower speeds than an IndyCar that hits speeds of 220 mph.

With 34 drivers on the track, the IndyCars were just inches apart. As one commentator describes it, drivers who made a mistake had "nowhere to go."

The number of cars on the small track is believed to be partially responsible for Wheldon's death, reports Sky News. Cars drove four-wide, and were limited by a concrete wall and safety fence.

Some also blame IndyCar promoters for encouraging Wheldon to ignore track safety. He accepted a $5 million challenge, which the Mirror reports required him to make it from the back to the front of the race.

Both the track's safety issues and the challenge probably contributed to the 15-car pile-up and Wheldon's death. But the fact is that he chose to go out there and race.

As mentioned above, Dan Wheldon and other drivers raised concerns over track safety. They could have chosen not to race, or demanded that its location be moved. But they didn't.

Instead, they chose to assume the risks--those inherent in the sport of racing, and those specifically posed by the track. Dan Wheldon further chose to accept a bet that may have upped the danger level.

It is not known if Wheldon's family is considering pursuing any legal remedies. If they do, Dan Wheldon's family will probably have a very difficult time legally proving that the track and IndyCar are responsible for his death.

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