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Indy ace Wheldon honoured

2013-03-22 14:59

THE LIONHEART HONOURED: Deceased British racing driver Dan Wheldon was honoured with a monument in his adopted hometown.

ST PETERSBURG, Florida - The Florida city of St. Petersburg honoured the late British racing driver Dan Wheldon in March 2013 with a monument at the street circuit in his adopted hometown.

The monument at Turn 10 includes bricks from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, stones from his native England and the handprints of his wife and two sons. It's located near the sign marking "Dan Wheldon Way" that was dedicated in 2012.

'GREAT DRIVER AND CHAMPION'

Susie Wheldon said: "Me and the boys were able to make our handprints in the concrete and I am so grateful to be able to make moments like that, just so they are able to know what a great driver and champion Dan was, but more importantly what he meant as a human being and father to us.”

Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner was killed in the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas.

All of the current IndyCar drivers were on hand for the unveiling and many posed for photos with Susie Wheldon after. She's scheduled to wave the green flag for Sunday's (March 24, 2013) season-opening race after skipping the event in 2012.

"I'm looking forward to a great weekend filled with reflection, but also lots and lots of celebration. A year from now, 10 years from now, I feel like I'll always be a part of the IndyCar family."

St Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster called Wheldon "our favorite son in auto racing" and praised the Wheldon family for embracing St. Pete as normal residents.

Foster said: "Yet Dan was everything but normal. He was an extraordinary father, and extraordinary citizen and an extraordinary driver."

Dario Franchitti, one of Wheldon's former teammates and a pallbearer at his funeral, spent time with Susie Wheldon and her sons before the unveiling and could see his friend's spirit in his boys.

Franchitti said: "The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree with those two, I'll tell you. The first thing they both wanted to do was jump on the golf cart and go for a ride around the track. They're clearly their fathers' sons. It's very bittersweet in a sense. It's a nice thing to remember Dan, but also reminds you of the loss of him."

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