IRL: Chicagoland: Dan Wheldon preview

It's not very often that a rookie driver has more experience at a race track than his veteran team-mates, but that is exactly the position Klein Tools / Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon finds himself in this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. 25-year old...

It's not very often that a rookie driver has more experience at a race track than his veteran team-mates, but that is exactly the position Klein Tools / Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon finds himself in this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. 25-year old Wheldon made his Indy Racing League Indy Car Series debut at Chicagoland last year, starting seventh and finishing tenth. In addition to that, the Klein Tools / Jim Beam team tested recently at the 1.5-mile oval with Wheldon running nearly 250 miles to build on his experience.

Along with his experience, Englishman Wheldon will also have momentum on his side as the Klein Tools / Jim Beam team is riding a wave of three consecutive top-ten finishes. Wheldon's two Andretti Green Racing team-mates -- Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta -- both tested at Chicagoland recently, but have yet to run a race there.

On his way to 'Windy City', Wheldon will spend a day at the Klein Tools corporate headquarters and its largest manufacturing facility, near Chicago. More than 300 of the 1,000 Klein Tools employees work at the facility in Skokie. Wheldon's visit to the Klein factory will allow him to see how many of Klein's products are made, including specially designed hand tools and wheel gun covers used by Andretti Green Racing and other IndyCar Series teams.

Qualifying for the Delphi Indy 300 -- the 14th round of the 2003 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series -- will take place on Saturday at 5.30pm (EDT).

The race is set for Sunday at 2pm (EDT) and will be broadcast live on ABC Sports.

Looking forward to this weekend's race, Dan Wheldon said: 'I really enjoy Chicagoland Speedway. I've been around here before and that really is a nice feeling. In my rookie year I've been to a lot of tracks where I just had to head straight into the race weekend. Having experienced a race and having experienced the track and testing at Chicagoland is all going to help me significantly because the Klein Tools / Jim Beam crew had a very productive test there.'

Tony Cotman, Team Manager, Klein Tools / Jim Beam, said: 'Dan had a very good test at Chicago last week, so we should unload with a good set-up. I think it's going to be difficult to pass, so we may spend more time working on our qualifying set-up. The trend for the series and us seems to be if you qualify well, you get a good finish, so that is what we will work on.'

-www.danwheldon.com-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam