Panther Confirms Dan Wheldon Will Drive No. 4 Car in Australia; Team Newcomer Slated to Make Debut in Delphi National Guard Honda Oct. 26th in Surfers Paradise INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 23, 2008) -- Panther Racing confirmed today that ...
Panther Confirms Dan Wheldon Will Drive No. 4 Car in Australia; Team Newcomer Slated to Make Debut in Delphi National Guard Honda Oct. 26th in Surfers Paradise
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 23, 2008) -- Panther Racing confirmed today that driver Dan Wheldon will pilot the team's No. 4 Delphi National Guard entry in the Nikon Indy 300, held on October 26th in Surfers Paradise, Australia. This will mark the first time Wheldon has driven a Panther car since he finished 15th at Texas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2002.
Just over six years and one month later, a span in which he captured 15 IndyCar Series victories, a league championship and the Indianapolis 500 crown, the Englishman is set to make his official return to Panther, this time in the team's coveted No. 4 entry.
"We look at this as a great way for our team to get a jump on the 2009 season with Dan," team co-owner John Barnes explained. "Our No. 4 crew is going to remain intact and we've got some great people that are looking forward to working with a driver of Wheldon's caliber. Having the opportunity to run the Australia race next month is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to get familiar with one another. Our goals for next season are high, and the work we're putting in to meet our goals of winning races, the league championship and the Indy 500 have already begun."
Wheldon will test with the team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, and again at Sebring International Raceway prior to making the trip to Australia with his new teammates.
"It's a great opportunity for us to work together on a race weekend and determine what the team needs from me and what I need from them," Wheldon explained. "The key to the 2009 championship is coming out strong in the first five races, and the work we do now will help us accomplish that. In just the first few days I've spent with the team I must say I'm impressed with how hard the guys at Panther work and the attention to detail I've seen with the racecars. I know the No. 4 car is very special to John Barnes, and I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity to race in the Delphi National Guard car starting in Australia."
This Monday, Wheldon filmed a segment for the CBS "Early Show" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the former Indy 500 champion gave a IndyCar Experience two-seater ride to Emmy-award winning news anchor Russ Mitchell. The segment is scheduled to air during this Friday's "Early Show".