IRL: Fontana: AGR/Wheldon preview

Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon looking toward Rookie-Of-The-Year title INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 16, 2003) ? Dan Wheldon had a few goals in mind as when he stepped into the ...

Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon looking toward Rookie-Of-The-Year title

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 16, 2003) ? Dan Wheldon had a few goals in mind as when he stepped into the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone this year. One of those goals is to win his first Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCarTM Series race in 2003 while another is to bring home the IndyCar Series Rookie-of-the-Year (ROY) title.

The Klein Tools/Jim Beam team can get another step closer to the ROY crown this weekend during the 400-mile IndyCar Series race at California Speedway. Although Wheldon has never raced at California, the team tested at the two-mile oval last week to give him some experience at the track.

Wheldon is coming off his strongest performance of the year, posted at Chicagoland Speedway, where he led his first laps in the IndyCar Series and finished fourth, closing the gap on ROY point leader Roger Yasukawa. Wheldon trails Yasukawa by only 10 points with two races remaining, despite only competing in 12 of the 14 races run this year.

Wheldon's points surge began at Nashville Superspeedway where he earned his first career top-five finish. Including that race, Wheldon has finished in the top-10 in five of the last six races, including three top-five finishes.

Qualifying for the California Speedway event will take place on Saturday at 2 p.m. (EDT). The race is set for Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) and will be broadcast live on ABC Sports.

Dan Wheldon, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"I'm really looking forward to racing in at California Speedway. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew did two days of testing there and the IndyCar Series is so competitive now that you don't have a day where you sit back and think, We did well this weekend, we will just relax and go to the next race, it is not like that. Every team is striving to improve their performance, and that is why we are working hard to improve ours. You have to make sure that your car is going to be good for the race, so when you come to the race weekend and you put it in a situation where there is a lot of traffic, it will work well."

Tony Cotman, Team Manager, Klein Tools/Jim Beam

"We are looking to build on our string of good finishes. Our focus is to get a win before the year ends and if we get one that should take care of the Rookie-of-the-Year title. The racing is going to be as competitive as Chicago, so we'll need to be able to run all day with a good race setup and not make any mistakes.

- AGR -

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dan Wheldon , Roger Yasukawa , Jim Beam