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Dan Wheldon tribute book announced at St. Petersburg

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Dan Wheldon made St. Petersburg his U.S. hometown, and it was only fitting that site served as the launch point of a tribute book to honor the two-time Indianapolis 500 and 2005 IndyCar series champion who lost his life in 2011 at Las Vegas.

The release via IndyCar is below:

As the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season gets underway in his adopted hometown, news comes of a new book paying tribute to two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon.

Written and produced by Andy Hallbery and Jeff Olson, “Lionheart – Remembering Dan Wheldon” is a high-quality 216-page book chronicling Wheldon’s life, as told by the people who knew him best: his family, friends, teammates, crew members and fellow competitors.

“The response has been truly incredible,” said Susie Wheldon, Dan’s widow. “It shows just how many people’s lives Dan touched and is a wonderful legacy for our two boys, Sebastian and Oliver. I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everybody involved for their dedication to creating this book, and to everyone who contributed, too.”

The book covers Wheldon’s career from karting all the way to his Indianapolis 500 wins in 2005 and 2011 and his 2005 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. It is filled with stories – some funny, some touching, but all truly captivating. Featured contributions from legendary names within the Verizon IndyCar Series and beyond, including lifelong friend and teammate Dario Franchitti, Formula One champion and childhood karting rival Jenson Button, NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, and many more from across the motorsport world.

The coffee-table book will be available to pre-order soon, priced at $74.99. A portion of the proceeds benefits two charities close the British driver’s heart – the Alzheimer’s Association and the DCW Foundation, created to continue the wide-reaching charitable work Wheldon started.

The book will be published in May during the lead-up to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Follow http://www.indycar.com or http://www.facebook.com/LionheartDW/ for more news and information on how to pre-order soon.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.