IRL: Motegi: Dan Wheldon race report

Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon Wins at Motegi MOTEGI, Japan (April 17, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon became the first Englishman to win in the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series with his dominating victory today...

Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon Wins at Motegi

MOTEGI, Japan (April 17, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon became the first Englishman to win in the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series with his dominating victory today at the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 in Motegi, Japan. The win is also Honda's first win in seven major open wheel events at its Twin Ring Motegi.

The 2003 IndyCar Series Rookie-of-the-Year started from the pole and led 192 of the 200 laps, relinquishing the lead only during green flag pit stops. After a final pit stop on lap 171 where the Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew provided lightning fast service, the 25- year-old Wheldon held off his teammate, Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan, to secure Andretti Green Racing's (AGR) first one-two finish. It is also AGR's second-consecutive win, following Kanaan's triumph in Phoenix three weeks ago. The win also gives Wheldon the IndyCar Series points lead, marking the first time he has led the championship.

Helio Castroneves finished third, just ahead of Darren Manning in fourth. Alpine driver and AGR teammate Dario Franchitti finished seventh. XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta finished 14th after mechanical problems ended his day on lap 183.

The 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 marks the next event on the IndyCar Series calendar. Practice begins on Sunday, May 9, with the race on Sunday, May 30.

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

"It's awesome for Honda, and it's awesome for the team. The Klein Tools/ Jim Beam crew did a great job today. My boys did awesome today. The Firestone tires were great, because if you can beat (Tony) Kanaan around this place you know you're doing okay. This race was very difficult and the team and Honda did just a great job. The Japanese fans were awesome and I love racing here. I love being a part of this team and it's just fantastic to win my first IndyCar Series race here for Honda."

Tony Cotman, Team Manager, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"What an exceptional day and exceptional week for Dan and the Klein Tools/ Jim Beam team. That was dominating at its best, and it's a total team effort from Honda, Firestone and everybody at Andretti Green Racing. I'm extremely happy that Honda got its first win here and I'm proud that we could do it for them."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam