Dan Wheldon will always be remembered at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. After all, turn 10 of the race track is named after the two-time Indy 500 champion.
“I still struggle of course and having the race in town is really great and I love seeing my friends, but it’s also painful,” said Dan’s widow, Susie.
That pain came in October 2011, when Wheldon was killed in a crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He left behind his wife and two young sons. Those boys, who are now racing themselves, have helped Susie get through the hardest of times.
“To me that’s been my biggest motivation is wanting to give them an example of what it means to get up and keep going no matter what faces you,” she said.
After six difficult years dealing with Dan’s death and life as a single mother, Susie decided to get back on her feet and do something for herself. She’s opening a hip clothing store in St. Pete’s Edge District, called Verve Boutique.
“Of course I know he’d be proud. And I know he’d want a say in the clothes and the style. He loved that sort of thing as well,” she said.
Watching over this store is a larger than life lion. With a very special meaning.
“Dan’s nickname was Lionheart, so people that know my background in racing would understand that. That’s just my way to incorporate him into the store. Just to have him see me here in this journey and be a part of it all.”
Otherwise the racing touches are subtle. This place is all about fashion. And carrying on, just like Dan would have wanted.
The official grand opening is Thursday at 6 p.m. Wheldon’s Indy 500 winning car will be on display, and Indy car drivers will be there too.
Verve Boutique is locate at 915 Central Avenue.
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