IRL: Dan Wheldon Nashville reflections

Best IndyCar Series result yet for Dan Wheldon English Rookie Dan Wheldon captured his first career top-five in the Klein Tools / Jim Beam Dallara / Honda / Firestone last night at Nashville Superspeedway. 25-year old Wheldon, from Emberton ...

Best IndyCar Series result yet for Dan Wheldon

English Rookie Dan Wheldon captured his first career top-five in the Klein Tools / Jim Beam Dallara / Honda / Firestone last night at Nashville Superspeedway.

25-year old Wheldon, from Emberton inBuckinghamshire, started eighth and ran as high as third late in the race before finishing fourth -- just 2.6100 seconds behind the winner -- in the Firestone Indy 200, the ninth round of the 2003 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series.

Dan Wheldon pitted twice by lap 61 to try a different strategy than most of the field and dropped back to 14th in the running order. However, yellow flags flew at the right time for the Klein Tools / Jim Beam crewand Wheldon was running sixth when he pitted for the final time on lap 114. As he saved fuel to run the final 86 laps of the race, he steadily moved up in the running order, running third for 46 of the final 50 laps. Double Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves got by Wheldon for third on the final re-start of the race on lap 197.

2003 Indianapolis 500 Champion Gil de Ferran won his second race of the year and moved to second in the Indy RacingLeague IndyCa Series points standings -- just 14 points behind Wheldon's team-mate Tony Kanaan, who finished ninth last night. Scott Dixon was second and is now third in the points, just one point behind de Ferran. The third Andretti Green driver, Bryan Herta, finished 12th.

Highlights of the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville can be seen in theUK on Five early on Wednesday morning at 02.40.

The IndyCa Series now heads to Michigan International Speedway for the Firestone Indy 400. It is the 35th year of racing at the two-mile oval outside Detroit and ABC will broadcast the race live next Sunday 27 July.

After his best Indy Car Series result yet, Dan Wheldon commented: 'Tony Cotman did an absolutely excellent job tonight and a lot of the credit has to go to him. The Klein Tools / Jim Beam car was very good once we got the momentum up. The car set-up was brilliant; we were able to run flat-out pretty much all night. I think we had a little bit too much downforce and that made it difficult for us to overtake.'

Tony Cotman, Team Manager, Klein Tools /Jim Beam, said: 'We're really happy, but at the same time a little disappointed for Dan. He drove a great race and things were going our way and he deserved to be on the podium tonight. Early in the race we were in deep trouble and it was really hard to pass and I am really happy with the job everybody did tonight to get us in the top-five.'

-www.danwheldon.com

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam