Dan Wheldon's Death Prompts IndyCar Series To Cancel Championship Awards Banquet In Las Vegas

Following the death of Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, IndyCar announced Monday it will not hold the 2011 Championship Celebration that had been scheduled for tonight at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.

That's no surprise, but it's the right move since a black-tie party would seem inappropriate on the day after Wheldon was killed in a tragic crash during what was supposed to be the season finale.

The race was canceled after 11 laps – it will apparently be wiped from the books – and drivers paid tribute to Wheldon with a five parade laps as the track's public address system played the sounds of bagpipes and "Danny Boy."

IndyCar said information for Wheldon's public memorial will be released at a later date.

"No words can describe my feelings as I reflect on my memories of Dan," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said in his first statement since announcing Wheldon's death. "His infectious smile, bubbly personality and big heart made Dan one of the most caring people I had ever met. You could never ask for a better ambassador to a sport.

"Dan represented IndyCar with the upmost respect and integrity. Dan will not only be immortalized as being a great racer but also a wonderful person. My prayers are with Susie and his two children in this very difficult time."

Related: Dan Wheldon's death an unwanted reminder about dangers of racing

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