IRL: Nazareth: AGR, Wheldon race report

NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 29, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon recorded his third win of the season Sunday at the Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar® Series Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway, the final event to be held at the tight...

NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 29, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon recorded his third win of the season Sunday at the Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar® Series Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway, the final event to be held at the tight 1-mile oval. With the victory, Wheldon moved into second place in the IndyCar Series points championship. He now leads Buddy Rice by four points (431-427) and trails only teammate Tony Kanaan by 72.

A big portion of Wheldon's victory can be attributed to the Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew, which aided him in gaining track position during pit stops. During the first caution period of the race, Wheldon entered the pits in sixth place. After taking on four new tires and 30 gallons of fuel, he gained two spots, moving into fourth. On lap 108, in what proved to be a valuable move, Wheldon passed Helio Castroneves to move into the third position. While holding the third spot, Wheldon waited for another caution period and pitted under the yellow on lap 146. Racing out of the pit box, Wheldon gained another two positions and moved into the top spot. Green flag conditions resumed on lap 161 and Wheldon was never threatened.

With the win, Andretti Green Racing claimed its eighth victory in 13 races this season, including two in a row. Wheldon and Kanaan have three victories each, while Dario Franchitti has two. Wheldon's previous victories came at Twin Ring Motegi and at Richmond.

Following Wheldon across the finish line were Kanaan and Franchitti, who finished second and third, respectively. Buddy Rice finished fourth and Castroneves rounded out the top five. Bryan Herta, who drives the #7 XM Satellite Radio car, finished in the eighth position, marking the fourth time this season that all four AGR drivers have finished in the top 10.

The IndyCar Series season resumes on Sunday, Sept. 12 with the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. The 14th race of the 2004 schedule will be televised by ABC Sports with coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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

"The Klein Tools/Jim Beam guys did an absolutely fantastic job. To have three cars (finish in the top-three positions) in the Indy Racing League today is an exceptional achievement. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew got me out of the pits very, very quickly on the final pit stop and that's what won me the race because once I was out front, the car was very, very good."

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

"I'm really proud of the team today. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew did a heck of a job in the pits. We took a gamble on the last stop to get him out in the lead and hoped it would work. Today was our day. I'm really happy for Michael. I'm pretty sure that's the first '1-2-3' in IRL history and, no matter what it looks like from the outside, that's really, really hard to do. It was a great job by the whole Andretti Green team."

-AGR-

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