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Danica Patrick steals the show at family Christmas party with special gift to her father

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This is one Christmas gift that will never be returned, or even end up on eBay.

And both the gift and reaction are priceless.

Former IndyCar and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick stole the show at her family’s Christmas Eve get-together when she presented a one-of-a-kind present to her father, T.J.

Patrick’s gift: a frame containing the first and last firesuits she ever wore in her two-plus decade racing career, according to a story on PopCulture.com. The last firesuit was the one Patrick wore in this year’s Indianapolis 500, her final race before she officially retired as a race car driver.

The reaction brought tears to the face of everyone in attendance, as Patrick said in her Instagram post.

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Merry Christmas Eve! This is from yesterday before I left my parents place in Indy. We did Christmas early and my sis helped with the idea of something sentimental for dad….. we all cried. It’s my first and last suit. It was an emotional year of leaving something behind that was such a huge part of our lives. The main reason I am saying all this, is because Christmas dosent have to cost a lot of money. It should cost something different…. sometimes more than we are willing to give, and that is your time and/or deep thought of a gift that will mean something to someone. I am guilty of spending money, yes, but I also put all a lot of thought to what I am getting. I heard the best gift idea yesterday from my friend molly…. her and her husband have a Christmas challenge of who can spend the least amount of money and get the other one to cry. Let me say her gift takes a lot of time and virtually no money. I love that. Have an amazing, happy, connected holiday! And I mean connected to people not your phone…..after you read this. 😆

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Here’s more from Patrick’s Instagram account, “Merry Christmas Eve! This is from yesterday before I left my parents place in Indy. We did Christmas early and my sis helped with the idea of something sentimental for dad ….. we all cried. It’s my first and last suit. It was an emotional year of leaving something behind that was such a huge part of our lives.”

Patrick went on to say that it wasn’t about buying an expensive present, but rather one that had deep emotional meaning.

“The main reason I am saying all this, is because Christmas doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It should cost something different …. sometimes more than we are willing to give, and that is your time and/or deep thought of a gift that will mean something to someone. I am guilty of spending money, yes, but I also put all a lot of thought to what I am getting.”

Patrick’s post has been liked by nearly 40,000 readers, with one of the responses coming from her mother, Bev.

“You did get us all,” Bev wrote. “But what cherished memories between purple and green!! I feel so blessed to have such a loving thoughtful family. It’s all I need ever!”

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Three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda dies at 70

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BERLIN (AP) Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, has died. He was 70.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Lauda’s family said in a statement he “passed away peacefully” on Monday. Walter Klepetko, a doctor who performed a lung transplant on Lauda last year, said Tuesday: “Niki Lauda has died. I have to confirm that.”

Lauda won the F1 drivers’ championship in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari and again in 1984 with McLaren.

In 1976, he was badly burned when he crashed during the German Grand Prix but made an astonishingly fast return to racing just six weeks later.

Lauda remained closely involved with the Formula One circuit after retiring as a driver in 1985, and in recent years served as the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team.

Born on Feb. 22, 1949 into a wealthy Vienna industrial family, Nikolaus Andreas Lauda was expected to follow his father’s footsteps into the paper-manufacturing industry, but instead concentrated his business talents and determination on his dreams of becoming a racing driver.

Lauda financed his early career with the help of a string of loans, working his way through the ranks of Formula 3 and Formula 2. He made his Formula 1 debut for the March team at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix and picked up his first points in 1973 with a fifth-place finish for BRM in Belgium.

Lauda joined Ferrari in 1974, winning a Grand Prix for the first time that year in Spain and his first drivers’ title with five victories the following season.

Facing tough competition from McLaren’s James Hunt, he appeared on course to defend his title in 1976 when he crashed at the Nuerburgring during the German Grand Prix. Several drivers stopped to help pull him from the burning car, but the accident would scar him for life. The baseball cap Lauda almost always wore in public became a personal trademark.

“The main damage, I think to myself, was lung damage from inhaling all the flames and fumes while I was sitting in the car for about 50 seconds,” he recalled nearly a decade later. “It was something like 800 degrees.”

Lauda fell into a coma for a time. He said that “for three or four days it was touch and go.”

“Then my lungs recovered and I got my skin grafts done, then basically there was nothing left,” he added. “I was really lucky in a way that I didn’t do any (other) damage to myself. So the real question was then will I be able to drive again, because certainly it was not easy to come back after a race like that.”

Lauda made his comeback just six weeks after the crash, finishing fourth at Monza after overcoming his initial fears.

He recalled “shaking with fear” as he changed into second gear on the first day of practice and thinking, “I can’t drive.”

The next day, Lauda said he “started very slowly trying to get all the feelings back, especially the confidence that I’m capable of driving these cars again.” The result, he said, boosted his confidence and after four or five races “I had basically overcome the problem of having an accident and everything went back to normal.”

He won his second championship in 1977 before switching to Brabham and then retiring in 1979 to concentrate on setting up his airline, Lauda Air, declaring that he “didn’t want to drive around in circles anymore.”

Lauda came out of retirement in 1982 after a big-money offer from McLaren, reportedly about $3 million a year.

He finished fifth his first year back and 10th in 1983, but came back to win five races and edge out teammate Alain Prost for his third title in 1984. He retired for good the following year, saying he needed more time to devote to his airline business.

Initially a charter airline, Lauda Air expanded in the 1980s to offer flights to Asia and Australia. In May 1991, a Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashed in Thailand after one of its engine thrust reversers accidentally deployed during a climb, killing all 213 passengers and 10 crew.

Lauda occasionally took the controls of the airline’s jets himself over the years. In 1997, longtime rival Austrian Airlines took a minority stake and in 2000, with the company making losses, he resigned as board chairman after an external audit criticized a lack of internal financial control over business conducted in foreign currency. Austrian Airlines later took full control.

Lauda founded a new airline, Niki, in 2003. Germany’s Air Berlin took a minority stake and later full control of that airline, which Lauda bought back in early 2018 after it fell victim to its parent’s financial woes.

He partnered with budget carrier Ryanair on Niki’s successor, LaudaMotion.

On the Formula One circuit, Lauda later formed a close bond with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who joined the team in 2013. He often backed Hamilton in public and provided advice and counsel to the British driver.

Lauda also intervened as a Mercedes mediator when Hamilton and his former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg feuded, argued and traded barbs as they fought for the title between 2014-16

Lauda twice underwent kidney transplants, receiving an organ donated by his brother in 1997 and, when that stopped functioning well, a kidney donated by his girlfriend in 2005.

In August 2018, he underwent a lung transplant that the Vienna General Hospital said was made necessary by a “serious lung illness.” It didn’t give details.

Lauda is survived by his second wife, Birgit, and their twin children Max and Mia. He had two adult sons, Lukas and Mathias, from his first marriage.