Wheldon monument unveiled at St. Petersburg

One day before practice begins for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the city honored two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and St. Pete resident Dan Wheldon with a permanent monument at Turn 10 of the street circuit.

The monument features bricks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, stones from his homeland of England, and hand prints of his wife, Susie, and their two sons, Sebastian and Oliver.

"Me and the boys were able to make our handprints in the concrete and I am so grateful to be able to make moments like that, just so they are able to know what a great driver and champion Dan was, but more importantly what he meant as a human being and father to us," Susie told the Associated Press.

Wheldon was killed in a crash in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He won the 2005 edition of the St. Petersburg race.

A second monument was also unveiled to honor past winners throughout the race's history as an IZOD IndyCar Series event (the first open-wheel Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 2003, won by Paul Tracy, was under Champ Car sanctioning). Wheldon's name is listed first, followed by the names of three-time St. Pete winner Helio Castroneves, Graham Rahal, Ryan Briscoe, Will Power and Dario Franchitti.

Turn 10 of the 1.8-mile St. Pete street circuit was renamed "Dan Wheldon Way" shortly before the series staged its 2012 season-opener last March — the first race since Wheldon's death.