Wheldon's car burst into flames when it flew over another car and hit a wall on 13th lap of the Las Vegas 300. Drivers were informed of Wheldon's death two hours after the 15-car wreck. Wheldon, who was 33, won the Indy 500 this year and 2005.
"It was like a movie scene which they try to make as gnarly as possible," Danica Patrick was quoted as saying. "It was debris everywhere across the whole track, you could smell the smoke, you could see the billowing smoke on the back straight from the car. There was a chunk of fire that we were driving around. You could see cars scattered.
"IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race. In honor of Dan Wheldon, the drivers have decided to do a five-lap salute to in his honor."
Three other drivers were injured in the accident, including Will Power and Townsend Bell.
An England native, Wheldon debuted on the IRL IndyCar Series in 2002 and won rookie of the year the following year. Aside from clinching the Indy 500 twice, he was the IRL IndyCar series champion in 2005.
Wheldon is survived by his wife, Susie and their sons, Sebastian, 2, and Oliver, 6 months.