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IndyCar not returning to Las Vegas in 2012

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - The IZOD IndyCar Series will not compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next season, the sanctioning body for the series revealed on Thursday.

IndyCar's announcement comes nearly seven weeks after a horrific 15-car accident in the early going of the season-ending race at Las Vegas claimed the life of Dan Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and former series champion. Wheldon's car went airborne into the catch fence along turn two before it erupted into flames during the lap 11 incident. The 33-year-old Englishman died of blunt head trauma.

The series was scheduled to run its season-finale at Las Vegas again on October 14, 2012, but IndyCar and track officials have said considerable testing with the new Indy car is needed prior to returning to the 1.5-mile oval. Wheldon had been testing the new Dallara chassis prior to his fatal crash.

"We feel we need to give our technical team ample time to conduct thorough testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, once we complete our ongoing investigation into the 15-car accident during the Oct. 16 race at the track," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said in a statement.

IndyCar noted in its news release the complete 2012 schedule will be announced in the coming weeks. The season-opener is slated for March 25 at St. Petersburg, FL.

12/08 21:32:59 ET

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