Wheldon Bounces Back, Panther Fifth Quick Tuesday at Indianapolis
Panther Posts Quickest Time of Month; Carpenter Finishes 21st on Final Speed Chart
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - (May 18, 2010) -- Dan Wheldon and his National Guard Panther Racing team bounced back from last Sunday's crash and posted the fifth-quickest lap speed during Tuesday practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Wheldon, who was cleared to drive Sunday evening following X-rays to his bruised right foot, posted his fastest lap of the month immediately after practice opened shortly after 1 p.m. because of a brief rain delay.
Wheldon ran a total of 24 laps today and posted a top speed of 225.378 mph, 39.9328 seconds -- trailing only Scott Dixon, Mario Moraes, Marco Andretti and Alex Tagliani.
Teammate Ed Carpenter quickly got to work turning 26 laps in Vision Racing's No. 20 Honda powered Dallara, sponsored by Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka.
Carpenter's top lap on the day came in at 223.348 mph and was 21st on the speed charts.
The midnight black No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car had a slightly new look for practice this afternoon as DEEM has joined the team as an associate sponsor for the race and is featured on the car's front wing end fence and engine cover. DEEM is a mechanical and electrical company centrally located in Indianapolis, Indiana with satellite offices throughout the Midwest, down to the southeastern United States.
Carpenter will be making his 100th IZOD IndyCar Series start and is preparing for his seventh Indianapolis 500-mile race and sixth with Vision Racing. Last season Carpenter started 17th and drove to eighth place finish. His best drive at Indianapolis came in 2008 when he started 10th, drove his first career IndyCar Series leader laps (3) and finished fifth.
After posting its quickest laps of the day early, both the National Guard and Fuzzy's Vodka teams returned to the track during the final hour of the day, but with cool temperatures and persistent moisture on the track -- the team elected to wait to make another run when practice resumes on Wednesday.
Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda:
"It actually helped the National Guard Panther Racing team that there wasn't any track activity yesterday because it gave the boys an extra day to really take their time and put the No. 4 car back together. They did a great job working on it the last couple days. They rolled it out at the start of the day and I think my fourth lap we were quickest we've been all month and I was (third on the speed chart). We have a lot of momentum on the team and I'm not at all surprised we were able to come out of the gate so quickly today."
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Dallara Honda:
"We didn't quite get all the things done that we wanted to today. We found out we have a lot less tires available to us than we thought we were going to be allotted for the month so we only used one set of tires today. We tested a couple of things but I really would have liked to have run a lot more. I'm happy with the progress we are making. We started off with a really good car overall and that helps since we have such limited amount of running time. We'd be in a LOT worse position if we had any problems to sort out but we haven't. I feel good about where we are right now. I think today was a frustrating day because I finally realized that I really don't like this new two-week format. I prefer having a week to work on qualifying and a week to work on the race set up. That's what Indy is all about. Brian Barnhart always says there are two races at Indy, one for the pole and one for the race. It just feels weird this year. I think I've made up my mind that I am not a fan of this shortened format for May."
-source: panther racing