On Sunday, October 16th in Las Vegas, the IndyCar season finale was taking place. Meant to be a 200 lap race, it only took 11 for disaster to strike. On the first turn of lap 11, Dan found himself hopelessly trapped in a maze of out-of-control cars. It didn’t take long for a crash to occur. More than half of the racer's cars were totaled and three drivers were even sent to the hospital. Paramedics reached the crash site within minutes, but it was not soon enough for Dan. His car had spiraled into the air and smashed into the fence. Reporters were told that he had received "unsurvivable injuries."
"One minute you're joking around at driver intros and the next, Dan's gone," said Dario Franchitti.
The course was cleaned of the mangled vehicles and the remaining drivers held a meeting to determine the outcome of the race. The final decision was to end the race and give five laps as a memorial for Dan. This decision ends the season in a way nobody could have anticipated, giving Dario Franchitti the championship victory, but in the end no one was celebrating.
Dan joined the IRL league in 2002 and had more than his fair share of achievements. He was awarded Rookie of the Year in 2004, won the 2005 Indy 500, won the 2005 championship, and held the record for most wins (six) in a single season. Dan was a great friend of many of the drivers, idol to the fans, and a competitive racer.