Long Beach: Panther Racing qualifying report

Panther Advances to Second Round of Long Beach Qualifications, Wheldon Starts 10th Tomorrow National Guard Team Starts in Fifth Row, Earns Best Starting Position of Season LONG BEACH, Calif. - (April 17, 2010) -- National Guard Panther ...

Panther Advances to Second Round of Long Beach Qualifications, Wheldon Starts 10th Tomorrow

National Guard Team Starts in Fifth Row, Earns Best Starting Position of Season

LONG BEACH, Calif. - (April 17, 2010) -- National Guard Panther Racing driver Dan Wheldon advanced to the second round of qualifications for the first time during the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season on Saturday and will start tenth for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Long Beach. The qualification effort is Panther's best of the season, and an improvement over the 14th-place position in which the team started at Long Beach last season.

The National Guard car advanced to the second round of qualifications after posting a quick lap of 100.970 mph, 1:10.1676 seconds, sixth best amongst the 12 competitors in the group. In the second session, Wheldon finished 10th, posting a best speed of 100.841 mph, 1:10.2574 seconds. He will start the race in the fifth row, alongside Andretti Autosport driver Marco Andretti.

Penske driver Will Power captured the pole position and was followed on the grid by Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves.

Wheldon, who is currently 12th in the IndyCar Series championship race, collected his first Top Five finish as a member of Panther Racing last year in Long Beach. This season, he opened the season with a fifth-place result in Brazil, and last week he jumped 11 positions from 23rd position to 11th -- advancing more spots than any other driver in the field.

The nine-year IndyCar Series veteran is currently in his second season with Panther Racing, and was the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion. Last season he finished runner-up in the Indianapolis 500, which was Panther's second consecutive runner-up result in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda

"It was a really good team effort by everybody in the National Guard Panther Racing crew. We tried a lot of different things in all three practice sessions leading up to qualifying and we managed to take all the good things from each one. I don't want to be greedy, but if I would have saved a set of the Firestone red tires, we probably could have run in the Top Six because I was feeling extremely confident in the No. 4 car."

-source: panther racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Marco Andretti , Will Power
Teams Andretti Autosport , Panther Racing