Dan Wheldon Crash Investigation: 'Perfect Storm' Of Factors Set Stage For Accident, IndyCar Says

IndyCar has released the initial findings of its investigation into the October crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that killed Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon.

Speaking at a Thursday morning news conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar officials said no one factor was to blame in the crash but the accident was the cause of a "perfect storm" of variables.

Here's a brief summation of the news conference:

• The surface at Las Vegas didn't have traditional grooves, and thus drivers were able to use the entire track with no limits. That created dangerous racing conditions in the pack, because there was no reliable or predictable line in which cars would travel.

Since these conditions were difficult to replicate in practice and testing, IndyCar in the future will make sure it races at tracks where there is a limit to the amount of surface the cars can use.

• Despite LVMS being perhaps unsuitable for IndyCars, officials said not all high-banked ovals are viewed the same. Each track will be judged individually as to whether it is fit for IndyCar racing.

• Wheldon was traveling 224 mph prior to the crash and had slowed to 165 mph at the time of impact. When he ran into the car in front of him and went airborne, his car turned at an angle in which it collided with a fence post. The post "intruded" into the cockpit, officials said, and directly struck Wheldon's helmet. Wheldon had no other injuries aside from the blunt force head trauma, which killed him.

• After the crash, there was much speculation that since the fence posts were on the inside of the fencing at LVMS, it may have contributed to Wheldon's death. IndyCar's investigation ruled out this scenario because the car was traveling at such a high rate of speed that the impact with the post would have resulted in the same outcome whether it was on the inside or the outside.

That said, officials would prefer to see the poles on the outside of the fencing if they had a choice.

• The investigation found that other factors, such as the size of the field, the experience level of the drivers and Wheldon's starting position, were not solely to blame in the crash. In addition, the crash itself was the result of a typical racing incident.

MORE: Get another take on the investigation from our IndyCar blog, PopOffValve.com

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