Last October, IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon tragically passed away in a 15 car accident at the Las Vegas 300. The British-born driver had adopted St. Petersburg, Florida as his hometown, and the city has named a street Dan Wheldon Way in honor of him.
The street is found on the St. Petersburg race course and the street sign was unveiled by city mayor Bill Foster and Wheldon’s wife, Susie. Dan Wheldon Way also has significance to Wheldon’s career, found on Turn 10 of the course where Wheldon overtook Ryan Briscoe to win a race back in 2005. The ceremony took place during IndyCar’s annual media day where the vast majority of active drivers were in attendance.
“I just want to take the opportunity to thank my St. Petersburg family for all the love and support over the last several months,” Susie Wheldon said during the ceremony. “What a beautiful gift to be part of his legacy, and it’s something we can all share for years to come. Sebastian and Oliver will be so proud to know the impact their father had on this community and the world of motorsports.”
Many of Wheldon’s family and friends shared memories at the event while emotions still run high since the accident took place at the final race of the 2011 IndyCar season. There is no doubt that many will race with a heavy heart when the 2012 IndyCar season kicks off on March 25th at the Honda Grand Prix in St. Petersburg. Susie Wheldon has not yet decided whether she’ll stay in town for the race.
The 2012 season will also mark the debut of IndyCar’s new model, named the Dallara DW12 after the fact that Wheldon helped develop it last year before his tragic accident. Many have said that the new race car is much safer thanks to better technology.