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We lost Dan Wheldon five years ago — but his memory will live on forever

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Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of the tragic death of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon.

Just 4 ½ months after winning the Indianapolis 500 for the second time (also won in 2005), Wheldon was killed on Oct. 16, 2011 in a massive 15-car crash during the then-IZOD IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The English native was just 33 years old.

Wheldon’s car went airborne and he was killed almost instantly when his head struck a pole that supported part of the catchfence on the backstretch of the track. The official cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma. The race was immediately red flagged and never resumed out of respect to Wheldon and his family, although a five-lap tribute occurred later that afternoon.

Sadly, on the morning of his death and before the race, Wheldon had signed a multi-year contract to race for Andretti Autosport beginning in 2012. Wheldon had won both the 2005 Indy 500 and that season’s IndyCar championship in a previous stint with the Andretti organization.

Although it’s been five years since his passing, Wheldon’s memory is still alive. A number of drivers and fans, as well as Wheldon’s sister Holly, took to social media on Sunday to remember him. Here are a few of those posts:

F1’s Valtteri Bottas to compete in first-ever rally race in his native Finland

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Formula One’s “Flying Finn” is going back home for the first time.

More precisely, Valtteri Bottas is returning to his Finland homeland to compete in his first career rally race in the Finnish Rally Championship season opener.

Bottas, teammates on the F1 Mercedes team with five-time champ Lewis Hamilton, will compete in the World Rally Championships’ Arctic Lapland Rally from January 24-26.

He’ll team with two-time World Rally champion Timo Rautiainen in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC on rally roads of the Finnish Arctic Circle.

“This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying,” Bottas told Finnish rallying website Rallism.f1. “I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.

“It’s totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car. Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you’re driving in.”

Added Rautiainen, “In my life, I’ve sat in a rally car with only three drivers, but this is such an interesting mission that I just had to accept the challenge. I believe that for a talented wheelman like Valtteri, we’ll be able to establish a good basic driving routine in testing.”

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