IRL: Chicagoland: Dan Wheldon race report

Dan Wheldon finishes first IRL race less than a second behind race winner and team-mate Hornish. Dan Wheldon finished his first Indy Racing League (IRL) race in tenth place yesterday -- but less than a second behind his team-mate, Sam Hornish...

Dan Wheldon finishes first IRL race less than a second behind race winner and team-mate Hornish.

Dan Wheldon finished his first Indy Racing League (IRL) race in tenth place yesterday -- but less than a second behind his team-mate, Sam Hornish Jr, who won the Delphi Indy 300, the closest race in the history of the American all-oval series.

The 200-lap race at Chicagoland Speedway was by far the longest rookie Wheldon has ever experienced and yet, after over two hours on the banked 1.5-mile oval circuit, Dan Wheldon crossed the finishing line just .9387 of a second behind the winner!

24-year old Wheldon -- from Emberton in Buckinghamshire, England -- ran as high as fourth in his debut IRL race at the wheel of his Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara Chevrolet Firestone, but was slowed by anincident with Robbie Buhl's car.

After what is already being described as the most exciting Indy Racing League race ever, Dan Wheldon commented: 'The result is not what I would have liked, but it was a complete learning experience. I actually think we would have been a little better off had I not clipped the back of Robbie Buhl's car. From that moment on, I could never get the balance to how I wanted it. The Pennzoil Panther team did a fantastic job. The Chevrolet engineswere really good when I needed them. We'll just use that experience to our benefit in the next race -- at Texas.'

Next Sunday -- 15 September -- Dan Wheldon will race his Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara Chevrolet Firestone in the final Indy Racing League event of the year -- the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Dan Wheldon moved to the USA in 1999 after a highly successful early career in karts -- often beating Jenson Button and AnthonyDavidson -- and the junior single-seater formulae. In 1999 he won the US F2000 title. He then finished runner-up in the standings in CART Toyota Atlantic in 2000 and the CART Dayton Indy Lights series last year. He was named Rookie of the Year in all three series.

-www.danwheldon.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jenson Button , Robbie Buhl , Dan Wheldon
Teams Panther Racing