Marlboro 500 Presented By Toyota
Sunday, November 4, 2001
Wheldon Wins Indy Lights Rookie Of The Year
Race recap: Dan Wheldon made an aggressive run at the start to move up three positions by the first turn of the season finale Lights race in Fontana. He then tucked the nose of his #1 Gemstar Lights machine under the gearbox of leader Townsend Bell for 44 laps to finish second in the timed race. Wheldon made a move to pass for the lead on the last lap, but didn't have enough to win the race. His teammate, Mario Dominguez, battled in a group of seven cars for 44 laps while changing position several times. He to made a move to improve his position on the last lap, but couldn't get a good run behind Higgins. Mario finished the race in fifth position. Wheldon finished the season second in the championship, while Dominguez finished the year in fourth place.
DAN WHELDON - # 1 GEMSTAR PACWEST LIGHTS
Starting position: 5th Finishing position: 2nd Laps: 44
"The important thing for this race was for us to win Rookie of the Year," said Wheldon. "We did have a plan to make a late move on Bell but it didn't work. I'm personally pleased with the Rookie title, but I'm also pleased for PacWest. It's also good to finish second in the overall championship, and I want to thank my team and crew for all of their hard work this season. After the start, my plan was to get under the gearbox of Bell and stick with him to the end. He's a good driver to work with so I knew we could work together to pull away from the others. I did make a move on the last lap, but I just didn't have enough."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ - # 17 DEL VALLE CORONA TELEVISA PACWEST LIGHTS
Starting Position: 9th Finishing position: 5th Laps: 44
"My car was so slow that there was really nothing more I could do," said Dominguez. "Every time I passed someone, I got passed soon after. I tried to stick behind Halliday at the end, with a plan to make a last lap move for position, but it didn't work."