Panther Just Misses Advancing in Mid-Ohio Quals; Wheldon Starts 13th
Marco Andretti Knocks Wheldon Out of Top Six on His Final Qualification Lap
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 6, 2010) -- National Guard Panther Racing driver Dan Wheldon appeared poised to advance to the second round of qualifications Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but was knocked out of the top six competitors by Marco Andretti on the final lap of the first round.
Instead, Wheldon finished seventh in the first group of IZOD IndyCar Series drivers and will start in the 13th position for tomorrow's Honda Indy 200. He posted a top lap speed of 119.118 mph, 1:08.2415 seconds.
This will be Wheldon's fourth start at Mid-Ohio's 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course, and his best start and finish at the track came in 2007 with Ganassi Racing when he started 11th and finished in the 10th position. Panther's best result at the track came in 2008 with Vitor Meira, who started 11th, led the race and finished in sixth.
The pole was captured by Team Penske driver Will Power, who will be joined on the front row by Dario Franchitti.
The Honda Indy 200 will be broadcast live on VERSUS at 2:30 p.m. (ET) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, www.indycar.com, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 121.
Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard:
"I think Marco (Andretti) was slowing down to get a good lap and on that last set of tires after we pitted I just didn't get a good run and it's so close out there that if you miss it by a little bit it makes a big difference. The Panther guys have worked hard and the National Guard car seems pretty close, I just felt that we could have made that top six. It's a little unfortunate, but we'll all move together to the next phase. We've definitely improved the car over the weekend and we'll continue to do that for the race tomorrow."
-source: panther racing