IRL: Chicagoland: AGR, Wheldon Saturday report

Wheldon Qualifies Fifth at Chicagoland in Klein Tools/Jim Beam Machine JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 11, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon posted a best lap of 213.130 miles per hour (25.6745 seconds) to...

Wheldon Qualifies Fifth at Chicagoland in Klein Tools/Jim Beam Machine

JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 11, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon posted a best lap of 213.130 miles per hour (25.6745 seconds) to qualify in the fifth position for tomorrow's running of the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Wheldon, who collected his third win of the 2004 Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series season at Nazareth Speedway, was one of three Andretti Green Racing drivers to qualify in the top five, with all four AGR entries qualifying among the top nine. This marks the eighth time in 2004 that Wheldon has qualified in the top 10.

Wheldon, who has four straight top-three finishes, leads the IndyCar Series in top-three results with nine. By claiming his third victory of the season at the Firestone Indy 225, Wheldon catapulted himself into second place in the IndyCar Series points championship chase. He heads into Sunday's 200-lap event trailing Tony Kanaan by 72 points, and leads third-place driver Buddy Rice by four points.

Helio Castroneves will start from the pole Sunday with a fast lap of 214.759 miles per hour (25.4979 seconds), followed by Kanaan who came in at 214.030 miles per hour (25.5665 seconds). Buddy Rice qualified third with a speed of 213.843 miles per hour (25.5889 seconds), followed by Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti with a speed of 213.644 miles per hour (25.6127 seconds). XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta, who is sporting the logo of Turn-Key Forging & Design, Inc. on his side pods for the weekend, qualified ninth with a speed of 212.983 miles per hour (25.6922 seconds).

Andretti Green Racing drivers have won an IndyCar Series record eight of the 13 races this season, including the three won by Wheldon at Twin Ring Motegi, Richmond and the final IndyCar Series event at Nazareth Speedway.

The Delphi Indy 300 - Race 14 of the 2004 IndyCar Series season - is set to begin Sunday at 1:55 p.m. (EDT) with ABC Sports providing live coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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

"I'm looking forward to this race. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car is very strong. The main thing is to have a good race car, which I think we've got, but you've got to make sure you stay on top of the conditions, as well."

Eddie Jones, Race Engineer, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"We're not unhappy with fifth. It's not really important where you qualify here. We know we've got a very strong race car. I expect you'll see the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car leading a lot of laps tomorrow."

-agr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jim Beam