IRL: Indy 500: AGR's Wheldon Opening Day report

Wheldon 4th on Opening Day of practice for the Indianapolis 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 4, 2003) -- Dan Wheldon posted the 4th-fastest lap today in the Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The ...

Wheldon 4th on Opening Day of practice for the Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 4, 2003) -- Dan Wheldon posted the 4th-fastest lap today in the Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 24-year-old lapped the famed 2.5-mile oval at 227.716 miles per hour while completing only 38 laps during the rain shortened practice session.

The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew spent the first day of practice working on its race setup in preparation for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500. Wheldon took to the track in his #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam machine at approximately 1:30 p.m. and shook down the car before beginning the team's practice program. Rain showers late in the afternoon closed the track at 4 p.m. two hours before the scheduled track closure at 6 p.m.

Scott Sharp posted the fastest speed of the day at 228.764 miles per hour (39.3419 seconds). Helio Castroneves was second quick at 228.088 miles per hour (39.4585 seconds) and Tora Takagi was third fastest, posting a best lap of 227.884 miles per hour (39.4937 seconds). Wheldon's teammate Michael Andretti was fifth in the Team 7-Eleven entry posting a quick time of 227.461 miles per hour (39.5672 seconds). Robby Gordon, who is substituting for Dario Franchitti, was 25th with a quick speed of 220.636 miles per hour (40.7912 s).

Practice continues tomorrow at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for qualifying on Saturday, May 10. The 87th running of the "500" will take the green flag at 12 p.m. EDT and will be aired live on ABC Sports.

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

"Today went really well. Andretti Green Racing has done a good job preparing me for the Indianapolis 500 and the Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew has done a great job getting the car ready. We didn't have any problems with the car and we were able to run fast right away. We have a set program we are working through and we aren't going to deviate from it. So I'm happy we were fast today but it is still early to get too excited."

Kyle Moyer , Team Manager, Jim Beam/Klein Tools

"Dan started exactly where he left off at testing last week. He is finally in the car he is supposed to be in and he is running his plan so everything is coming together. Without Dario, (Franchitti) the team is going to be relying on Dan a lot. He was fourth fastest today and that just shows how fast he is."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Tora Takagi , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam