Wheldon honored on this year’s Indy 500 race ticket

One of the perks of winning the Indianapolis 500 is being on the race ticket for next year’s race.

Sadly, last year’s champion, Dan Wheldon, will not defend the Borg Warner Trophy in 2012. But Indianapolis Motor Speedway has made sure that the late, two-time ’500′ winner’s love and respect for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing lives on.

In a ceremony today at an Indianapolis middle school, IMS revealed the 2012 ’500′ ticket, which features Wheldon celebrating his second Indy victory by pouring the winner’s traditional bottle of milk on his head. In the background, his No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport machine crosses the Speedway’s famous Yard of Bricks.

Wheldon won the 100th anniversary running of the Indy 500 last year after J.R. Hildebrand’s attempt to pass a lapped car on the final lap ended with him crashing in Turn 4. Wheldon then passed Hildebrand on the front stretch to take the checkered flag in one of the most surreal endings in Indy history.

Wheldon also won the ’500′ in 2005 with Andretti-Green Racing (now Andretti Autosport).