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IMS to pay tribute to Wheldon during pre-race activities

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - A variety of tributes to the late-Dan Wheldon are planned during pre-race activities for Sunday's Indianapolis 500.

Wheldon, a two-time Indy 500 winner and former IndyCar Series champion, lost his life during a multi-car crash that occurred in the early going of the October 16, 2011 season-finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Last year, Wheldon pulled off a stunning upset in the centennial anniversary of the famed 500-mile race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His second win in the event came at the expense of then-rookie J.R. Hildebrand, who crashed coming out of the final turn of the last lap while leading. Wheldon made his first start of the 2011 season at Indianapolis, driving an entry for Bryan Herta Autosport.

Team co-owner Bryan Herta will drive Wheldon's No.98 winning car for a lap of honor prior to the command to start engines for the Indy 500. Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which had a technical alliance with Herta's team for last year's race at Indy, has restored the car.

Wheldon will also be featured on the race day technical inspection stickers affixed to all 33 cars in the starting field.

In addition, fans entering the track on race day will receive a pair of white cardboard sunglasses to wear in tribute to Wheldon on the parade lap, lap 26 and lap 98, recognizing the numbers of his Indy 500 winning cars. White sunglass were a favorite of Wheldon.

When Wheldon won his maiden Indy 500 in 2005, he became the first driver from the United Kingdom to win it since Graham Hill did so in 1966. Wheldon drove the No. 5 car for Andretti Green Racing during his series championship season in '05.

Wheldon's widow, Susie, is expected to participate in the public drivers meeting on Saturday at IMS. She will receive her husband's Champion of Champions Ring for his victory in last year's race.

05/22 16:53:17 ET


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