When Holly Wheldon, Dan Wheldon’s sister, dropped the green flag on the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the start of the healing process was almost tangible. It was like Dan himself gave us permission to dry our tears and get back to our beloved racing and nowhere better to do so than his adopted hometown of St. Pete.
Helio Castroneves took the checkers Sunday afternoon for the first time since the September 2010 in Motegi, Japan. Helio’s Penske #3 had just the right amount of speed and fuel conservation to take him to an uncontested win over Ganassi’s Scott Dixon. Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport took the remaining podium finish in 3rd.
There wasn’t a dry eye for Helio’s celebration including his own. He is known to be the first (ahem, Tony Stewart) to climb the fence as his regular victory celebration. Helio did climb the fence in turn 10 which is Dan Wheldon Way honoring his fallen friend. Helio was visibly moved in his Victory Lane speech as well. Castroneves is pure emotion, always wearing his heart on his sleeve. And let’s face it, when this man smiles and those dimples come out, angels get their wings.