Chicagoland: Panther Racing qualifying report

Wheldon Qualifies in 11th Position for Saturday Shootout in Chicago Two-time Chicagoland Speedway Winner Ready for Tomorrow Night's IndyCar Series Event Joliet, Ill. - (August 28, 2009) -- Panther Racing driver Dan Wheldon qualified 11th for ...

Wheldon Qualifies in 11th Position for Saturday Shootout in Chicago
Two-time Chicagoland Speedway Winner Ready for Tomorrow Night's IndyCar Series Event

Joliet, Ill. - (August 28, 2009) -- Panther Racing driver Dan Wheldon qualified 11th for tomorrow night's IndyCar Series shootout at Chicagoland Speedway, and will start on the inside of the sixth row for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300. Wheldon has captured two victories at Chicago during his IndyCar career, scoring back-to-back wins in 2005 and 2006.

Wheldon highlighted the race here last season by going three-wide for multiple laps with the Team Penske duo of Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe before settling for a sixth-place finish. If the final IndyCar practice held Friday is any indication, tomorrow night's race should be another thriller with Panther's No. 4 car in the heat of the mix.

Chicagoland is the track where Wheldon made his first career IndyCar Series start, which was with Panther, in 2002. He collected a Top Ten finish that day, and finished in tenth position after starting seventh. Wheldon's teammate at Panther that day, Sam Hornish Jr., won the closest 1-2 finish in IndyCar Series history that day by edging out former two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. by just 0.0024 of a second. The record stands to this day. Hornish came back the following year and won another thriller -- overcoming a late charge by Scott Dixon and Bryan Herta to win the closest 1-2-3 finish in history.

Tomorrow night will mark the Englishman's eighth career start at Chicagoland's exciting 1.5-mile oval, and he has four Top Five and six Top Tens in his previous seven appearances. This season Wheldon has collected three Top Five and eight Top Ten finishes during his first season back with Panther Racing. His best finish of the year was a runner-up result in the 93rd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda

"It's not too bad, and everybody at the National Guard Panther Racing team is working really hard to get up there with the Penske and Ganassi guys. The car is handling really well, and I'm sure we're going to have a good racecar and we'll have good pit stops so we'll be able to get up there as the race goes on. It's great to be back at Chicagoland, I love this track and always seem to go well here. Each weekend we continue to improve as a group and if we're able to continue that trend, then we should do well at each of the last three racetracks. They've all been good to me over the years and we're hoping for our breakthrough win."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske