Wheldon Laguna Seca qualifying notes

Last weekend, Dan Wheldon qualified sixth and went on to win the Indy Lights race at Road Atlanta. Today, he will line-up fifth on the starting grid for the penultimate round of the 2001 CART Indy Lights Championship, at Laguna Seca in...

Last weekend, Dan Wheldon qualified sixth and went on to win the Indy Lights race at Road Atlanta. Today, he will line-up fifth on the starting grid for the penultimate round of the 2001 CART Indy Lights Championship, at Laguna Seca in California, and be determined to add to his victories in the previous two rounds of the series.

The 2.238-mile Laguna Seca Raceway is a very challenging track – and Wheldon won there a year ago in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship.

Yesterday’s final qualifying session produced mainly slower times than on Friday. Dan Wheldon’s best qualifying lap in his Gemstar Communications PacWest Racing Lola-Buick on Saturday was 1 minute 17.297 seconds – an average speed of 104.232 mph – only .717 seconds behind poleman Townsend Bell’s time of 1 minute 16.580 seconds.

‘We’re not very good right now’, commented Dan Wheldon afterthe final qualifying session. ‘I’m fighting a lot of understeer even though my overall grip is good. Traffic was not an issue for me, but I’ve got to find a way to gain some speed. We’ll look at things tonight and hopefully get the car fine-tuned so we can come out strong tomorrow. This is a tough track to pass on, so we’ve definitely got a challenge ahead of us.’

23-year old Wheldon is currently second equal in the 2001 CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship with 123 points and is jointly leading the race to take the title of Rookie of the Year.

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Series INDYLIGHTS