IRL: Fontana: AGR/Wheldon race report

Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon grabs his second straight top-five finish at California FONTANA, Calif. (Sept. 21, 2003) -- Klein Tools/Jim Beam rookie driver Dan Wheldon matched his Indy Racing League IndyCar Series...

Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon grabs his second straight top-five finish at California

FONTANA, Calif. (Sept. 21, 2003) -- Klein Tools/Jim Beam rookie driver Dan Wheldon matched his Indy Racing League IndyCar Series career-best for the second straight race with a fourth-place finish Sunday at California Speedway.

Wheldon started from a career-high fourth spot on the grid and continually ran inside the top-five all day. Wheldon dropped back to the sixth position following his first pit stop, but quick work by his Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew on subsequent stops moved him back into the top-five.

Wheldon's fourth place finish, combined with a seventh place finish by Roger Yasukawa, moved Wheldon to within just four points out of the Rookie-of-the-Year title with one race remaining.

Sam Hornish won his third race of the year and second in a row Sunday, beating Scott Dixon and Wheldon's teammate Tony Kanaan to the line. The close racing at California tightened the IRL IndyCar Series championship points race. Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves are tied at the top with Tony Kanaan a mere seven points behind. Bryan Herta came in contact with Alex Barron early in the race and damaged his suspension, which forced him to exit the event early and finish 22nd.

The final race on the IndyCar Series calendar is scheduled for October 12 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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

"The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew did an excellent job today. We were trying to help Tony (Kanaan) get into victory lane and we came up a little short. He's only seven points back so he's got a good chance at the championship in Texas. It was another good finish for us and we are making a strong run at rookie-of-the-year."

Tony Cotman, Team Manager, Klein Tools/Jim Beam

"We did a great job today. There wasn't a whole lot we could do for a while and we were just along for a ride. Dan did a good job saving fuel at the start and it was one of those races where you were never going to go three-wide. I'm very happy with the job the team and Dan did and we just have one race left to get our first podium finish."

-AGR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam , Sam Hornis