IRL: Chicagoland: Dan Wheldon race notes

English rookie driver Dan Wheldon matched his Indy Racing League IndyCar Series career-best with a fourth place finish in yesterday's Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway -- the fourteenth round of the 2003 16-race series -- just 0.1245 of a ...

English rookie driver Dan Wheldon matched his Indy Racing League IndyCar Series career-best with a fourth place finish in yesterday's Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway -- the fourteenth round of the 2003 16-race series -- just 0.1245 of a second behind the winner!

Wheldon led his first laps as an IndyCar Series competitor on Sunday, battling for the point with Tomas Schectker 80 laps into the race. He continued at or near the front of the field for the rest of the race. 25-year old Wheldon -- from Emberton in Buckinghamshire -- led a total of 31 laps en route to his fourth place finish.

The Klein Tools / Jim Beam crew also had a scare late in the race when the yellow flag came out on lap 187. Wheldon was preparing to pit for a splash of fuel, but would have been trapped a lap down if he had come into the pits as the yellow flew. Wheldon cautiously brought the No 26 Klein Tools / Jim Beam Dallara / Honda / Firestone around the track until the pit lane opened up on lap 190. After the caution period ended, Wheldon was in the middle of a six-lap shootout that came down to the final three feet of the 300-mile race.

Current Indy Racing League Champion Sam Hornish Jr won his second race of the year in a three-way photo finish with Scott Dixon and Wheldon's team-mate Bryan Herta in the third closest finish in IndyCar Series history. Dixon was second in the three-wide finish, nosing ahead of Herta, who led nine of the final eleven laps.

Yesterday's race also brought Wheldon closer to Roger Yasukawa in the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year standings. Wheldon trails Yasukawa by only ten points with two races remaining. Dan Wheldon's result at Chicagoland matched his fourth place finish at Nashville in July this year.

The IndyCar Series gets back into action in two weeks at California Speedway for the penultimate race of the 2003 season.

After his impressive performance at Chicagoland Speedway, Dan Wheldon said: 'It was crazy out there, especially near the end of the race when everybody was fighting for the win. The Klein Tools / Jim Beam crew did a great job in the pits, they gave me great pit stops. Tony Cotman also did a great job by making some good strategy calls, including not taking tyres on the third stop.'

Tony Cotman, Team Manager, Klein Tools / Jim Beam, commented: 'This all stems back to the test and Dan had a good test here. We had a pretty good race car. He did a great job in the first stint on fuel mileage and, from there, that got us going. We led quite a lot today, so that was really good for him and good for Klein Tools / Jim Beam and everybody on the car.

The pit stops were absolutely outstanding -- probably the four best stops I've seen in a hell of a long time. I can't commend the boys enough for doing a great job. It was a great team effort. It was just a pity that we weren't quite in the right place at the right time at the end, but that is the way it goes.'

-www.danwheldon.com-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Roger Yasukawa , Jim Beam , Sam Hornis