Indianapolis 500 pays tribute to Dan Wheldon (5-27-2012)

The start of Sunday's 96th Indianapolis 500 was preceded by an emotional tribute to last year's winner Dan Wheldon, who was killed in a horrific crash later in the season. The crowd, estimated at almost a quarter of million, paused in silence to remember the popular British driver, whose death in the season-ending race at Las Vegas continues to cast a pall over the sport. The car he drive to victory in last year's race was taken on a lap of the sprawling 2.5 mile track by team owner Bryan Herta. "There are a lot of people feeling Dan's loss," Herta told reporters earlier in the week. "It's still a difficult situation and it still feels fresh, but it's really nice to see the continued outpouring of support for Dan and his family and everything he has done for IndyCar." Wheldon's smiling face was featured on the official race day tickets and spectators were given white cardboard sunglasses, in memory of the loony white-framed glasses the Englishman often wore, to wear on laps 26 and 98 - representing the numbers of his winning cars at the race in 2005 and 2011. Wheldon's wife Susie and their two sons attended the race week. On Thursday, the drivers presented Susie with her husband's championship ring from last year. On Saturday, race officials gave her a replica of the winner's trophy. Wheldon won his first Indianapolis 500 in 2005 but it was his victory last year for which he will be best remembered. Despite finishing runner-up in America's greatest race in 2009 and 2010 ...

 

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