IRL: Nazareth: AGR, Wheldon Friday report

NAZARETH, Pa. (August 27, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon posted a best lap of 164.206 miles per hour during the first day of practice today for the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway. Wheldon's ...

NAZARETH, Pa. (August 27, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon posted a best lap of 164.206 miles per hour during the first day of practice today for the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway.

Wheldon's #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone team fought through electrical difficulties in the morning session, but came back during the second session of the day to record the ninth-fastest lap.

Wheldon, who took 109 laps on the 1-mile oval with 77 coming in the afternoon, has eight top-three finishes to his credit in the first 12 races the year, including a current string of three in a row. He heads into Sunday's race third in the IRL® IndyCar® Series standings and is 82 points from the top spot, which is occupied by teammate Tony Kanaan. He trails second- place Buddy Rice by just 14 points.

On the season, Wheldon has started in the top five on five occasions, including twice on the pole at Phoenix and Twin Ring Motegi.

Leading practice today was Helio Castroneves, who turned the fastest lap in the afternoon at 165.667 miles per hour. Vitor Meira finished the day second at 165.301 miles per hour, followed by Kanaan with a lap of 165.267 miles per hour. Sam Hornish Jr. turned a lap at 165.085 miles per hour, and Darren Manning rounded out the top five with a lap of 164.747 miles per hour.

Qualifications for the Firestone Indy 225 - the 13th race of the 2004 IndyCar Series season - are set for Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (EDT). Live coverage of the final IndyCar Series event at Nazareth Speedway, the IRL's 100th event, will be provided Sunday by ABC beginning at 2 p.m. (EDT).

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

"In all honesty, it was a good day. It's a difficult track for me with three completely unique corners. There's not much banking and it's bumpy, so considering how we went at the test, this isn't too bad. We've still got some work to do, but certainly the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car is competitive right now."

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

"We made a lot of ground this afternoon and we're really happy. I think it's going to be hard to tell in the morning, just because it's cooler, but we need to qualify as high as we can and the top six would be really nice. We have a very good race car, though, and we'll just have to see how it turns out on race day."

-AGR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira