IRL: AGR's Wheldon earns award nomination

WHELDON EARNS FIRST ESPY NOMINATION INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 27, 2005) - Dan Wheldon, driver of the ...


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 27, 2005) - Dan Wheldon, driver of the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam car and winner of the 2005 Indianapolis 500, has been nominated in the "Best Driver" category for the 2005 ESPY Awards presented by ESPN. The nomination, Wheldon's first, comes on the heels of his record-breaking start in the 2005 Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series season.

"Obviously, the category that I have been nominated for, 'Best Driver,' means a lot to me," said Wheldon. "Anytime you are compared to a seven-time world champion like Michael Schumacher makes you very excited. To win an ESPY would be icing on the cake after winning the Indianapolis 500. It is going to be a great evening and I am really looking forward to it."

The current leader in the points championship race, Wheldon started the 2005 season by winning four of the first five IndyCar Series races, the first driver ever to do so. In the process, Wheldon won the inaugural Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He followed that victory by taking his second-consecutive win at the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi and capped the streak by becoming the 64th different driver to win the Indianapolis 500.

The record streak has already garnered Wheldon recognition from other outlets. He was recently chosen as the Speed Channel Driver of the Year for the second quarter of 2005.

Since winning his first IndyCar Series race in 2004, Wheldon has won six more times. In all, his seven career victories rank him fourth in IndyCar Series history. His seven victories have all come over the last 21 IndyCar Series races, by far the best stretch in the history of the 10-year old series.

Also up for the ESPY "Best Driver" award are: Greg Anderson, Kurt Busch and Schumacher. If Wheldon were to win, he would be only the third Indy-style driver to win the award. Al Unser Jr. won the ESPY in 1995 and Jimmy Vasser won in 1997.

Fans can vote for Wheldon online at ESPN will broadcast the 13th annual ESPY Awards on Sunday, July 17. Coverage of the event begins at 9 p.m. (EDT).

- AGR -

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Kurt Busch , Al Unser Jr. , Jimmy Vasser , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam