Panther's Dan Wheldon to Compete in SKUSA SuperNationals
Former Indy 500 Winner Joins National Guard to Race in Las Vegas Karting Event
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- (November 19, 2008) -- With the start of the 2009 IndyCar Series still over four months away, Panther driver Dan Wheldon will compete this weekend for the first time in the SKUSA SuperNationals, a championship karting event held in Las Vegas and title sponsored by the National Guard.
Wheldon, who signed this year to return to Panther's IndyCar program, will drive in the TaG Pro class in a National Guard liveried kart entered by Kartel Motorsports. The former Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion will team with karting veterans Neil Alberico, Chris Scribner and Kyle Wiegand in the event.
"Karting is something that I'm very passionate about and I have to say all the young guys that are aspiring to join the IndyCar Series and compete in the Indianapolis 500 are going to be desperate to beat us this weekend," Wheldon said. "Our offseason is very long and this is a perfect time for me to get back into what I consider an incredibly competitive environment. I'm going to enjoy myself and have a good weekend, and I'm always proud anytime I can fly the colors of Panther Racing and the National Guard."
Kartel Motorsports was co-founded by current Grand American Road Racing Series driver Joey Hand, who expressed his excitement over bringing Wheldon to the team.
"Obviously having Dan and the National Guard on the Kartel Motorsports team is a big deal," Hand said. "This is the premier event in the United States and we feel we have brought a premier lineup of drivers. With the combination of their talent and our rigorous testing program, we feel we will compete to win in every class."
The 2009 IndyCar Series season will mark Wheldon's return to Panther Racing, after the open-wheel veteran made his league debut with the team in 2002 as a teammate to Sam Hornish Jr. Since then, the Englishman has had successful stints with Andretti Green Racing, where he won the 2005 Indy 500 and series championship, and Chip Ganassi Racing. He has won a total of 15 IndyCar races in his career, placing him in the top three in series history.
Practice, qualifications and heat races for the SuperNationals will be held from November 20-23 at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.