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Remembering Dan Wheldon, two years later

Oct 16, 2013, 10:30 AM EST

Helio Castroneves AP

Two years ago today, the racing world lost Dan Wheldon, twice an Indianapolis 500 winner and the 2005 IndyCar Series champion.

Wheldon’s spirit has endured in the two years since his passing in the horrific, multi-car pileup at Las Vegas in 2011. Helio Castroneves took a popular win in Wheldon’s adopted hometown of St. Petersburg to kick off the 2012 IndyCar season; Dario Franchitti held off a hard-charging Takuma Sato to win the first ‘500 after Wheldon’s accident.

This year, a statue was unveiled in St. Petersburg to honor Wheldon’s memory and to pay tribute to the Grand Prix race winners under INDYCAR sanction. And in a little more than a week, some of IndyCar’s top stars will be in action in a charity go-kart race to support the Alzheimer’s Association, an organization Wheldon supported deeply from the time his mother was diagnosed.

The pain and agony is still fresh and raw for some; for others, it’s fortunately subsided. Either way, October 16 will always be a day to remember and pay tribute to the endearing Englishman and his million-dollar smile.

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