IRL: Kansas: AGR/Wheldon preview

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 1, 2003) -- Fresh off a top-10 performance last weekend at Richmond International Raceway, Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon is looking for continued success as he heads into Round 8 of the Indy Racing League...

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 1, 2003) -- Fresh off a top-10 performance last weekend at Richmond International Raceway, Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon is looking for continued success as he heads into Round 8 of the Indy Racing League IndyCarTM Series Sunday at Kansas Speedway. After a rough couple of races, Wheldon got back into form at Richmond, running as high as sixth before finishing eighth.

As an IndyCar Series rookie, Wheldon hasn't raced at many of the tracks he is running at this season. Kansas is an exception - the 25-year-old raced in the 2001 Indy Lights event at the 1.5-mile oval. Wheldon finished the race fourth, but was awarded third after Townsend Bell was penalized two finishing positions.

"I think the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car is going to be strong at Kansas," said Wheldon. "It is good to be going to a track that I've been to before and actually raced on. Most of the tracks we go to I've never been to or I've only tested on them which is a lot different from racing conditions."

Wheldon, from Emberton, England, also believes the similarities between an IndyCar Series car and an Indy Lights car will add to his comfort-level at the track.

"The Indy Lights car is similar to these cars, so I think it is going to be a good race. I was a part of the closest three-way finish in the series history and I hope we can have the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car up at the front in Kansas."

Wheldon completed two days of testing at Kansas Speedway in preparation for the event and team manager Tony Cotman says the time on the track is invaluable.

"We learned a lot in our test at Kansas," said Cotman. "Dan was able to drive a lot of miles and combining that with his experience in the Indy Lights race a couple of years ago, we should be in good shape. It is important for us to give him a good car from the start so we only have to tweak it a little during the weekend. Dan has learned a lot in these last couple of races and he is doing a great job for us."

Qualifying for the Kansas Indy 300 will take place on Saturday at 12 p.m. (EDT). The race is set for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. (EDT) and will be broadcast live on ABC Sports. - AGR -

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Townsend Bell , Jim Beam