IRL: Dan Wheldon entered for Indy 500

Dan Wheldon will attempt to qualify for the 87th Indianapolis 500 next month as part of a four-car Andretti Green Racing (AGR) entry and is aiming to become the first Englishman to compete in the famed race since Nigel Mansell. Wheldon's ...

Dan Wheldon will attempt to qualify for the 87th Indianapolis 500 next month as part of a four-car Andretti Green Racing (AGR) entry and is aiming to become the first Englishman to compete in the famed race since Nigel Mansell.

Wheldon's team-mates in the2003 edition of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will be Michael Andretti, current IRL IndyCar Series points leader Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti.

IndyCar Series rookie Dan Wheldon will get his first shot at qualifying for the elite 33-car Indianapolis 500 field driving the No. 26 Klein Tools / Jim Beam / Dallara / Honda / Firestone.

24-year old Wheldon -- from Emberton in Buckinghamshire,England -- competed in his first two IndyCar Series races for Panther Racing last year.

In 1999 he won the US Formula Ford 2000 Championship and was Rookie of the Year. He came second in both the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship (2000) and the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship (2001) and was Rookie of the Year in both series.

While the Indianapolis 500 will be Dan Wheldon's first race in 2003, he is alreadymaking preparations for the rest of his debut season with Andretti Green Racing.

Last week Dan Wheldon completed 214 trouble-free miles in private testing at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway where the team will contest the Belterra Casino Indy 300 on 17 August, getting valuable seat time and acquiring data for the team.

It will be the first race at Kentucky Speedway for the team and its drivers, although Wheldon has tested there before with PantherRacing.

"While we were in Kentucky as part of our ongoing testing program with Honda, we were also focused on providing Dan with a chance to get back into a race car prior to the month of May," AGR co-owner Kim Green said. "Dan's last time in the race car was at California Speedway for Test in the West in February, and we knew that it was important for him to get back on board and put in some good laps before we get to Indy. He did a good job, and I'm sure it was as helpful tohim as it was for us."

Team Manager Kyle Moyer agreed. "It was a good test," Moyer said. "We were very impressed with Kentucky Speedway. It's really a beautiful facility. We were able to do our scheduled work for Honda and also use Dan Wheldon's experience at the track to work on other mechanical issues. Dan felt that the track was a lot bumpier than his previous time there, which was good information to have. It was a pretty windy day and we were more focused ongetting laps in than checking times. It was our first visit to Kentucky, and now we've got a good starting point to work from for the race."

-www.danwheldon.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Nigel Mansell , Dan Wheldon , Kim Green , Jim Beam
Teams Panther Racing