IRL: Chicagoland: AGR/Wheldon Friday report

Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon 11th in first day of practice at Chicagoland. JOLLIET, Ill. (September 5, 2003) -- Rookie Dan Wheldon set the 11th fastest speed in practice today at Chicagoland Speedway in preparation for the Delphi Indy...

Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon 11th in first day of practice at Chicagoland.

JOLLIET, Ill. (September 5, 2003) -- Rookie Dan Wheldon set the 11th fastest speed in practice today at Chicagoland Speedway in preparation for the Delphi Indy 300 on Sunday. Wheldon lapped the 1.5-mile oval in the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone at 221.756 miles per hour.

Wheldon, who made his Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCarTM Series debut at Chicagoland Speedway last year, concentrated of the car's handling in traffic and race- like conditions during the afternoon practice session. The team worked a little on their qualifying setup this morning, but then went to their plan on finding the perfect setup for the race during the rest of that session and into the second practice.

Tomas Scheckter led today's practice with a speed of 223.810 miles per hour. Richie Hearn, who is making only his second start of the year, was second quick with a speed of 223.511 miles per hour. Kenny Brack rounded out the top-three at 222.870 miles per hour. Wheldon's teammate Bryan Herta was 4th fastest today with a lap at 222.805 miles per hour. Tony Kanaan's best speed of 220.586 miles per hour was good enough for 16th.

Qualifying for the IRL IndyCar Series Delphi Indy 300 is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. EDT tomorrow, while the 200-lap race -- which will air live on ABC Sports -- is set for 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday.

Dan Wheldon #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"It looks like everything is working well. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam team is working hard for these last three races and right now this one is the most important. We worked a little bit on qualifying and a little bit on our race car, so I think we're in good shape. Obviously, it will pay dividends to qualify well here because the competition is so close in this series that you need to be at the front as much as possible."

Tony Cotman Klein Tools/Jim Beam Team Manager

"Coming here to test has really helped us quite a bit because we unloaded with a pretty fast race car. We worked on our race setup during the afternoon session to get a feel for what we need in the race and the car felt comfortable. We'll now work really hard in tomorrow morning's practice session to qualify well."

-agr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Richie Hearn , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam