Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon Third in Season Opener HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 29, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon started 2004 the way he closed out 2003 with a third-place finish in the 300-mile Indy Racing LeagueÂ® ...
Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon Third in Season Opener
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 29, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon started 2004 the way he closed out 2003 with a third-place finish in the 300-mile Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The 2003 IndyCar Series Rookie-of-Year led on two different occasions for 14 laps, including late in the race. Wheldon took the lead for the final time on Lap 183 of the 200-lap event after strong pit strategy saw him take only fuel on his final pit stop. Wheldon held the lead for five circuits before being passed by the Penske teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves. Wheldon then battled for the final 13 laps with Tora Takagi to hold onto the podium position. Hornish went on to win the race on a last lap pass of his teammate.
Wheldon's Andretti Green Racing teammate, Tony Kanaan, finished eighth and Bryan Herta came home in the 13th position. An accident on Lap 105 put Dario Franchitti out of the race in the 17th position.
The IndyCar Series moves to Phoenix International Raceway on March 21 for Round Two of the 16 event schedule. The 200-mile event will be broadcast live on ABC Sports.
Dan Wheldon, Driver, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"This is an excellent finish for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team. We worked really hard this weekend. Qualifying didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, but that is what this team is all about. We focus on the race because that is what pays the points. I'm sure today will be a good indicator of how strong all of Andretti Green Racing will be in the races to come."
Tony Cotman, Team Manager, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"It was a very exciting race and a good start for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew. It was a great team effort by everybody: the boys at the shop, our crew that travels with the team -- everybody has worked really, really hard the last few months. I'm very excited for Dan because he drove a great race."