People here still have a place in their hearts for Dan Wheldon, the adopted son who moved to St. Petersburg in 2005, the same year the late IndyCar driver won the inaugural Honda Grand Prix.
Thursday, on the eve of this year’s race, officials from the Grand Prix and the city dedicated a memorial to Wheldon, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner who died in an October 2011 crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The memorial sits at the corner of Bayshore Drive and Albert Whitted Park, where the city last year named the road running through the park after Weldon.
The Dan Wheldon Monument is a concrete pillar with a plaque honoring Weldon’s racing career. Victory Circle, a companion pillar, honors winners of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Wheldon became a beloved figure in St. Petersburg during the six years he lived here. He and his wife, Susie, moved to Snell Island and became fixtures in the community. His widow and two young sons still live here and attended Thursday’s dedication, as did past Grand Prix winners.