National Guard Driver Dan Wheldon Finishes 14th in Mid-Ohio Final Stint Forces Wheldon Back Several Positions at Conclusion of Race LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 8, 2010) -- National Guard Panther Racing driver Dan Wheldon finished 14th Sunday...
National Guard Driver Dan Wheldon Finishes 14th in Mid-Ohio
Final Stint Forces Wheldon Back Several Positions at Conclusion of Race
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 8, 2010) -- National Guard Panther Racing driver Dan Wheldon finished 14th Sunday afternoon at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200. Wheldon reached as high as eighth position during the race, but experienced a pair of off-track excursions late in the event that caused the team to fall back to the 14th position.
The National Guard team qualified in the 13th position, where they remained for the duration of the first stint until a full-course caution was called for contact between E.J. Viso and Justin Wilson. The team pitted along with a majority of the field and one of the season's fastest pit stops for the Panther pit crew helped boost Wheldon past five competitors and the No. 4 car returned to the field in the eighth position after Tony Kanaan and Alex Tagliani elected not to pit.
Wheldon remained inside the Top Ten through the final pit stop of the race on Lap 55 when the team switched to the red Firestone Alternate tires. During his final stint the National Guard car was pushing and went off course on two occasions -- the final time coming on Lap 70 just following the final restart of the race, which allowed both Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alex Lloyd to pass, and forced Wheldon into the 14th position. The team was able to hold off former driver Vitor Meira in the final laps of the race to hold onto the position.
Wheldon remains in 10th position in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings, but moved closer to Justin Wilson in ninth position and now trails the Dreyer & Reinbold driver by just three points. The team is also just seven points behind Andretti Autosport driver Marco Andretti for the seventh position in the championship.
The race was won by Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti, who was joined on the podium by current points' leader Will Power and Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.
The IZOD IndyCar Series will take a weekend off before traveling to northern California for the final road course race of the season.
Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard:
"We started off and held position at a reasonable pace and then the National Guard Panther Racing guys had a great pit stop on the first stop, and the Andretti Autosport guys were kind enough to give us some room and that made a huge difference. So with our guys doing a good stop and Danica's guys helping us we were able to move up quite a few positions. Then in the second stint we were really good and then in the third stint for whatever reason from the get-go we had a lot of understeer. As I continued to push I blistered the front tire and the understeer just continued to get worse and I went off the track a few times and unfortunately just didn't have the pace on that last stint. But the Panther guys did a really good job, and worked hard all weekend. The IZOD IndyCar Series competition is just so close that if you have one bad stint it makes the difference between a Top Ten and, unfortunately for us, being outside the Top Ten."
-source: panther racing