Patrick to honor Wheldon with memorial paint scheme, helmet at Texas

Danica Patrick posted this photo on Twitter of the tribute helmet she will wear in memory
of Dan Wheldon this weekend at the Nationwide race at Texas Motor Speedway.
When Danica Patrick returns to the Nationwide Series this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, she will pay tribute to her friend, IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, by driving a memorial paint scheme and wearing a special tribute helmet in his memory.

Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, died from injuries sustained in a fiery 15-car wreck in the Oct. 16 IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas.

Patrick will honor Wheldon's memory through a special paint scheme on the No. 7 Chevrolet Impala for JR Motorsports at Texas. Wheldon's "Lionheart" logo will appear across the black hood of the No. 7. The words “Dan Wheldon: 1978 – 2011” will appear underneath the logo. The car will also feature on the TV panel.

Sponsor worked with Patrick and JR Motorsports on the memorial paint scheme. Wheldon had been set to take over Patrick's No. 7 IndyCar ride with Andretti Autosport, sponsored by GoDaddy, in 2012.

Patrick will also be wearing a tribute helmet in remembrance of Wheldon at Texas. The helmet will be auctioned off through the Dan Wheldon Memorial Auction. The auction was started by IndyCar driver Graham Rahal to help raise funds for Wheldon's family. All proceeds benefit the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund. More than $200,000 has been raised so far through the sale of memorabilia and race-related items.

"I am humbled and proud to be wearing a special paint-out of my helmet in honor of Dan this weekend at Texas," Patrick said in a team press release. "This helmet will be auctioned off after the race with all proceeds, along with my prize money from this race, going to the Dan Wheldon Foundation. Dan was a good friend, and I will miss his great personality and positive attitude. I hope everyone will join me in supporting Susie and their two young boys at"

Patrick posted photos of the tribute helmet on her official Twitter account Wednesday. Known for always wearing her American flag helmet, Patrick tweeted today, "Its the first time I have changed my helmet or sold one, I'm excited!"

Texas will also be a big weekend for Patrick regarding her entry into the Sprint Cup Series. On Friday, she and Stewart-Haas Racing will announce her partial Sprint Cup schedule and car number for the 2012 season.

In the second year of her part-time Nationwide schedule with JR Motorsports, Patrick will make her 10th start of the season at Texas. She has one top-5 and three top-10 finishes in 2011. Patrick will run the last three races of the year before making the full-time jump to the series in 2012.

Saturday's O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge marks Patrick's second Nationwide start at the 1.5-mile oval. She finished 22nd at Texas last fall.
Patrick to honor Wheldon with memorial paint scheme, helmet at Texas Patrick to honor Wheldon with memorial paint scheme, helmet at Texas Reviewed by Rebecca Kivak on Thursday, November 03, 2011 Rating: 5