IRL: Nazareth: AGR's Wheldon Friday report

Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon 14th in first day of practice at Nazareth. NAZARETH, Pa. (August 22, 2003) -- Rookie Dan Wheldon set the 14th fastest speed in practice today at Nazareth Speedway in preparation for the Firestone Indy 225...

Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon 14th in first day of practice at Nazareth.

NAZARETH, Pa. (August 22, 2003) -- Rookie Dan Wheldon set the 14th fastest speed in practice today at Nazareth Speedway in preparation for the Firestone Indy 225 on Sunday. Wheldon lapped the one-mile oval in the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone at 161.583 miles per hour.

Wheldon, who will make his first start in any type of race car at Nazareth on Sunday, concentrated of the car's handling in traffic and race-like conditions. The team struggled to find the perfect setup for the car, but is confident they will continue to improve as the weekend progresses.

Tomas Scheckter led today's practice with a speed of 169.888 miles per hour. His teammate Scott Dixon was second quick with a speed of 168.956 miles per hour. Gil de Ferran rounded out the top-three at 168.050 miles per hour. Wheldon's teammate Tony Kanaan was fifth quick on the day with a lap at 166.709 miles per hour. Bryan Herta's best speed of 165.780 miles per hour was good enough for 7th.

Qualifying for the Firestone Indy 225 is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. EDT tomorrow, while the 225-lap race -- which will air live on ESPN -- is set for 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday.

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

"I think Nazareth is like a lot of tracks we race on. If you can get the car to do what you want it to do, it is pretty easy. But, if you don't it makes for a tough weekend. I think I'm having a hard time communicating to the Klein Tools/Jim Beam guys exactly what the car is doing and we are finding it hard to fix."

Tony Cotman,

Klein Tools/Jim Beam Team Manager

"We're really struggling a little bit because we haven't got the car to Dan's liking and the key for us is to get some more laps and just concentrate on our race setup for Sunday. That will be the focus for us for the remainder of the weekend."

-agr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam