A critical scene for the upcoming "Fast & Furious 7" came to a screeching halt Thursday ... after studio suits pulled the plug because it was just too dangerous ... too risky.
Sources connected with the production tell TMZ ... the shoot was being prepped at the Willow Springs International Raceway near Palmdale -- 45 minutes from where Paul Walker tragically died.
Members of the crew tell TMZ ... producers brought in drivers who are "authentic street racers" for the scene, where a souped-up yellow Chevelle races another car and dramatically pops a wheelie, as bystanders stand right by the track and cheer. A similar scene appeared in the first F&F.
The scene was being prepped for several days. Vin Diesel and other stars were there. But just before filming, we're told the suits from Universal abruptly cancelled the shoot, saying it was too dangerous.
Someone who was at the track tells TMZ ... a person from the production told some staffers they couldn't get the proper insurance to shoot the race.
But the word circulating among the staff is that they are extremely cautious because of what happened to the star of their movie. They believe a second crash -- even though Paul's was not film-related -- could jeopardize the entire franchise.