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IndyCar: 'Limitless' racing factor in Vegas wreck

By Jenna Fryer

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Dec. 15 2011 10:01 a.m. MST

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE -In this Oct. 16, 2011 file photo, Drivers crash during a wreck that involved 15 cars during the IndyCar Series' auto race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas. Driver Dan Wheldon was airlifted to a hospital. Will Power (12), of Australia, is airborne at left.

Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jessica Ebelhar) LAS VEGAS SUN OUT MANDATORY CREDIT ** PREMIUM CONTENT - SPECIAL RATES APPLY **, Associated Press

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IndyCar officials don't believe the construction of the fence at Las Vegas Motor Speedway played a role in the death of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon.

Instead, the larger factor was the wide grooves at the speedway that gave drivers a "limitless racing surface."

The investigation into Wheldon's fatal accident determined his head hit a post in the fencing, creating a "non-survivable" injury. Las Vegas is owned by Speedway Motor Sports Inc., and the organization constructs its fences with the posts inside the wiring.

IndyCar president Brian Barnhart says there is no indication Wheldon would have survived had the post been on the outside of the mesh wiring.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Dan Wheldon was killed when his head hit a post in the fencing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, contact that created a "non-survivable injury" to the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner.

IndyCar officials released their findings Thursday of the Oct. 16 accident in the season finale. Wheldon was killed in an early 15-car accident when his car launched into the catchfence.

The report finds several factors contributed to what became a "perfect storm," and no one reason could be singled out as the sole cause of the accident. IndyCar found it is "impossible to determine with certainty that the result would have been any different if one or more of the factors did not exist."

The race had a season-high 34 cars and was held on a high-banked oval, and IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard says the size of the field and the banking itself were not solely responsible for the accident.

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