IRL: Homestead: AGR, Wheldon race report

WHELDON WINS IN KLEIN TOOLS/JIM BEAM CAR AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 6, 2005) - Dan Wheldon drove the ...

WHELDON WINS IN KLEIN TOOLS/JIM BEAM CAR AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 6, 2005) - Dan Wheldon drove the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam machine to a dominating victory at Sunday's running of the Homestead-Miami Indy 300. The win was the fourth of his Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series career and Wheldon's first at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Wheldon started the race in the 11th position and didn't waste any time moving to the front. By lap 10, he had gained six spots. After choosing to stay on the track during a yellow flag on lap 12, the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team was sitting in the second position. When the race went back to green-flag racing on lap 20, Wheldon was the leader.

The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car stayed at or near the front through the middle stages of the 200-lap event, setting the pace from lap 71 to lap 148. Wheldon's last pit stop came on lap 149 under green-flag conditions and he came out in fourth. He regained the lead two laps later when the cars in front of him made their final pit stop. From that point on, Wheldon was never challenged and for the day, led 158 of 200 laps.

Sam Hornish Jr. finished second and Wheldon's Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan finished third. Vitor Meira finished fourth and Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five.

The IndyCar Series season resumes Saturday, March 19 at Phoenix International Raceway, where Wheldon is the defending pole winner. The second race of the 17-race schedule will be televised by ABC Sports with live coverage beginning at 4 p.m. (EST).

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

"It is a fantastic way for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team to start the season. The boys did a great job. Honda was very, very dominant today -- certainly the #26 car was. All the guys put their heads together and came up with a very good setup for today. I'm really happy that we could start the season off with a victory. There is still a long way to go, but you can't start much better than this."

John Anderson, Team Manager, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew was awesome. The level of preparation of all the cars and the way that everyone gets along at Andretti Green Racing is an awesome thing. I've been around a long time and seen a lot of young drivers come along, but to see the way we dominated today after not having a real comfortable car the last two days really showed Dan's focus."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , John Anderson , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira