IRL: Richmond: AGR, Wheldon qualifying report

Richmond , Virginia (June 25, 2004)- Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon earned the 20th starting position today for the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. The 2003 IndyCar ...

Richmond , Virginia (June 25, 2004)- Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon earned the 20th starting position today for the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. The 2003 IndyCar Series Rookie-of-the-Year lapped the three quarter-mile oval at 164.935 miles per hour.

Wheldon, who turned 26 years-old this week, had very little track time to prepare the Klein Tools/Jim Beam machine before qualifying. Light rain hung over the Richmond Raceway for most of the afternoon giving all of the teams a little less than an hour of track time. The skies cleared in time for qualifying but Wheldon's car was too loose for him to put in a very fast time.

Helio Castroneves won the pole for tomorrow night's race with a speed of 171.081 miles per hour. Starting alongside of him will be 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice who set the second fastest speed at 170.782 miles per hour. Rookie Mark Taylor earned his best start of the year with a third quickest effort. Taylor turned a lap at 170.683 miles per hour.

The SunTrust Indy Challenge, Round 6 of the IndyCar Series schedule, will start Saturday at 7:55 p.m. (EDT). ESPN2 will air the 250-lap event live with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. (EDT).

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

"Qualifying was very difficult. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car was really loose, and around here that makes it very hard to drive. This puts us in a tough spot because it is very difficult to overtake here at Richmond. It's a good track but you have to make sure you have a good balance on the car because if you don't, you're in trouble, and unfortunately, we didn't."

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

"We're not very happy with the car right now. We are going to sit down tonight and figure out what is going on. At Richmond, it doesn't matter where you start, but you need a car that handles well. Right now we don't have that, but this Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew is going to work hard to come up with the right setup for tomorrow night."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Helio Castroneves , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam