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

(Photo courtesy Bryan Herta Autosport Facebook page)
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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).

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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Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.