Panther Racing - Wheldon, Earnhardt Jr news 2009-07-09

Rain Doesn't Keep Earnhardt Jr. Out of Wheldon's National Guard IndyCar Weather Prohibits Two-Seater, Historic IndyCar Drive for Dale Jr., Who Gets Tour of Cockpit Instead INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 9, 2009) -- While the rain kept ...

Rain Doesn't Keep Earnhardt Jr. Out of Wheldon's National Guard IndyCar

Weather Prohibits Two-Seater, Historic IndyCar Drive for Dale Jr., Who Gets Tour of Cockpit Instead

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 9, 2009) -- While the rain kept National Guard racing stars Dan Wheldon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. from sharing a ride together in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, Earnhardt Jr. still didn't hesitate at the chance to jump in the cockpit of the No. 4 car to get a feel for it's like to sit behind the wheel of a racecar that goes well over 220 mph.

"I would love to drive one," Earnhardt Jr. said after a Wheldon, the 2005 Indy 500 champ, showed him around the car. "I'm intrigued how the IndyCar drives, what driving an IndyCar feels like. In the first seconds I had out there, I picked (Wheldon's) brain as hard as I could. That's all me and Dan would probably do if we had our choice today, was sit around and talk about it. But, you know, it definitely interests me."

Wheldon, who was flanked by Panther team owner John Barnes and Indiana National Guard Adjutant General Martin Umbarger, quickly pointed to his bosses and said, "I'm sure these guys could arrange that for you, Dale."

Wheldon, who had to leave immediately after the appearance to catch a flight to Toronto for this weekend's Honda Indy Toronto IndyCar Series event, was also discouraged by the rain shower but happy to spend time with his National Guard teammate from the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

"Anytime I'm at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway you're going to see a smile on my face," Wheldon said. "Especially when I'm here with another great driver like Dale Earnhardt Jr. He and I are both very competitive and we both drive for great teams. We both have team owners who take a lot of pride in their relationship with the National Guard, and John Barnes in particular is an amazing advocate for the National Guard. It's great to be here today with General Umbarger and all these Soldiers to help highlight everything they do for this country."

Earnhardt Jr. was also slated to turn laps in the 1941 Noc-Out Hose Clamp Special that Mauri Rose and Floyd Davis drove to victory in the Indianapolis 500.

"That was going to be a lot of fun," he said. "Hopefully that offer is still open."

The Honda Indy Toronto will be broadcast live in ABC at 1 p.m. (EST), with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, www.indycar.com and Sirius XM channel 211.

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Dan Wheldon , John Barnes
Teams Panther Racing