IRL: Chicagoland: Dan Wheldon qualifying report

Wheldon to start first IRL race from seventh place. Dan Wheldon will start his first race today in America's Indy Racing League (IRL) from seventh place on the 26-car starting grid. The 24-year old Englishman from Emberton in Buckinghamshire...

Wheldon to start first IRL race from seventh place.

Dan Wheldon will start his first race today in America's Indy Racing League (IRL) from seventh place on the 26-car starting grid.

The 24-year old Englishman from Emberton in Buckinghamshire set a fastest time of 24.7658 seconds (220.950 mph) around the 1.5-mile oval ChicagolandSpeedway circuit at the wheel of his No 15 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara Chevrolet Firestone in yesterday's qualifying session for today's Delphi Indy 300.

Among the well-known drivers further down the starting grid are 2000 and 2001 CART FedEx World Series Champion Gil de Ferran (11th place) and double Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves (21st place) in their Marlboro Team Penske-entered Dallara Chevrolets.

After Dan Wheldon's first IRL qualifying session he commented: 'We've done very, very well. The Pennzoil Panther team has put a great car under me and, obviously, the Chevrolet motor is running very well. I think we're going to be very good in the race. This weekend we worked very hard on the race set-up, so I am looking forward to it. I think we'll be ready for the race. The guys are very good tome, and I just have to hit my marks. I think there's a chance that we could win, but we'll just play it out and see what happens.'

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. He then finished runner-up in the standings in CART Toyota Atlantic in 2000 and the CART Dayton Indy Lights series last year. He wasnamed Rookie of the Year in all three series.

The race can be seen live in England on the Sky Sports 2 channel, starting at 6pm UK time.

-www.danwheldon.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jenson Button , Anthony Davidson , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Dan Wheldon
Teams Team Penske