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St. Petersburg dedicates Dan Wheldon memorial

ST. PETERSBURG — A permanent marker was placed at Dan Wheldon Way on Thursday as his widow, Susie, her children and the full complement of IndyCar drivers turned up for the dedication.

Wheldon, a St. Petersburg resident who won the inaugural Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and two Indianapolis 500s, was killed in October 2011 in a racing accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"I feel like I can't thank this community enough, not only the people of St. Petersburg, but also my racing family," Susie Wheldon said. "Just the continued love and support over the past 17 months, you guys have literally lifted me up."

The monument, by artist Ron Whitney, is a concrete slab with a plaque on the front. Susie Wheldon and sons Sebastian and Oliver placed their handprints in the concrete after it was laid.

Dan Wheldon Way is at the end of Bayshore Boulevard and is also known as Turn 10 during race weekend on the racetrack's downtown streets. Last year it was the scene of Helio Castroneves' emotional victory celebration as he climbed and tapped the "Dan Wheldon Way" sign affixed to the fence.

Mayor Bill Foster and St. Petersburg city council chairman Karl Nurse and council members Bill Dudley, Jim Kennedy and Charlie Gerdes also attended Thursday's dedication.

"It's a little bittersweet because it floods our memories of our favorite son in auto racing, Dan Wheldon," Foster said. "It brings up all these great memories we have of Dan, of Susie and the boys, just being residents and loving St. Petersburg."

St. Petersburg dedicates Dan Wheldon memorial 03/21/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 21, 2013 6:25pm]
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