IRL: Fontana: AGR, Whedon race report

Wheldon drives Klein Tools/Jim Beam car to third-place finish FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2004) - Dan Wheldon continued his late-season charge by piloting the ...

Wheldon drives Klein Tools/Jim Beam car to third-place finish

FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2004) - Dan Wheldon continued his late-season charge by piloting the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam entry to a third-place result at the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series California Indy 400 Sunday at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Wheldon began the race from 13th position on the starting grid and immediately made his way towards the front of the field. He was second by lap 16 and briefly took the lead on lap 17 before settling into a pace among the top five. He continued to battle among the leaders until suffering a drive-through penalty on Lap 186, after nearly making contact with Sam Hornish Jr. The penalty dropped Wheldon to the tail of the lead lap.

A late-race caution period set up a one-lap shootout on lap 199 which saw Wheldon gain four spots, moving from seventh to third place on the final lap of the event.

With the third-place finish, Wheldon remains in second place in the IndyCar Series point standings, 25 points ahead of third place Buddy Rice.

Honda-powered Adrian Fernandez earned the victory Sunday while Team 7-Eleven teammate Tony Kanaan clinched the IndyCar Series championship with a second place finish, followed by Wheldon, Hornish Jr., and Rice in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Dan Wheldon, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car was very quick today. If it wasn't for what I feel was a questionable call, we might have been able to push Tony (Kanaan) into victory circle. This team is just very, very unique. To field four cars and have them be as competitive as they are is just a testament to how good Andretti Green Racing is."

Tony Cotman, Team Manager, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"Today turned out to be a little more eventful for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team than what we anticipated. We knew that (Adrian) Fernandez was strong; we hung with him through the middle of the race and Dan and Adrian worked together to tow their way to the front. We had a disappointing penalty which Dan recovered from amazingly well, and at the end of the day he put together a blindingly fast last lap. All the credit goes to Dan for that finish."

-agr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr.