(Photo courtesy Bryan Herta Autosport Facebook page)

Bryan Herta receives steering wheel from Dan Wheldon 2011 Indy 500 win

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Veteran IndyCar team owner and former driver Bryan Herta received a very touching and emotional Christmas gift during his company’s annual Christmas party on Saturday.

A joint effort from employees at Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA), the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IMS Museum and the Verizon IndyCar Series saw Herta receive the exact steering wheel that the late Dan Wheldon used in winning the 2011 Indianapolis 500 for BHA.

The wheel was enclosed in a translucent case that also featured bricks from IMS, as well as a photo of Wheldon and Herta taking ceremonial swigs of milk after their inspirational “little engine that could” win.

It was the second time Wheldon won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, having also taken the checkered flag in 2005 for the former Andretti Green Racing (now Andretti Autosport).

Tonight at our Christmas Party, we gave Bryan the full, complete steering wheel that Dan Wheldon used as he drove and…

Posted by Bryan Herta Autosport on Saturday, December 12, 2015

Herta was visibly moved by the gift, tweeting later in the evening:

Sadly, Wheldon, 33, was tragically killed in a crash later that same year during a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while driving a car jointly entered by both Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Herta.

But the lives he touched, particularly BHA in the one-off effort that resulted in the Indy 500 victory, will never be forgotten.

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NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

NBCSN
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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.