IRL: Chicagoland: Dan Wheldon Friday practice report

Dan Wheldon set the sixth fastest time in his first official practice session for an Indy Racing League (IRL) race yesterday. This weekend the 24-year old -- from Emberton, Buckinghamshire -- will become the first Englishman to race in the ...

Dan Wheldon set the sixth fastest time in his first official practice session for an Indy Racing League (IRL) race yesterday.

This weekend the 24-year old -- from Emberton, Buckinghamshire -- will become the first Englishman to race in the all-oval Indy Racing League series in America.

His debut race is the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway where yesterday he set a fastest time of 24.6226 seconds (222.235 mph) in his No 15 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara Chevrolet Firestone around the 1.5-mile D-shaped asphalt oval track.

Wheldon's time places him sixth on the provisional 26-car grid for tomorrow's race and one place ahead of his team-mate, Sam Hornish Jr -- the reigning Indy Racing League Champion. Dan Wheldon was the second fastest of the 19 Chevrolet-powered entries.

After his first taste of an official IRL practice session, Dan Wheldon commented: 'Everything is going according to plan, really. We tested here last week. So, we were just making sure the car is very good for the race. I had better do good because I want to drive here in 2003! A lot of it is credit to the team, as well. You can't look good without the machinery, and that goes for the Chevrolet engine, too. Everything in this team works well as a package, and it makes my job much easier.'

Dan Wheldon moved to the USA in 1999 after a highly successful early career in karts -- often beating Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson -- and the junior single-seater formulae. In 1999 he won the US F2000 title as a rookie. He then finished runner-up in the standings as a rookie in CART Toyota Atlantic in 2000 and the CART Dayton Indy Lights series last year. He was named Rookie of the Year in all three series.

-dwr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jenson Button , Anthony Davidson , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornis
Teams Panther Racing