IRL: Indy 500: Dan Wheldon race report

WHELDON WINS 89TH RUNNING OF INDIANAPOLIS 500 SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 29, 2005) - Dan Wheldon, driver of the ...

WHELDON WINS 89TH RUNNING OF INDIANAPOLIS 500

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 29, 2005) - Dan Wheldon, driver of the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam car, added to the best start in IndyCar Series history by winning the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. The win was Wheldon's seventh career victory, which ranks him fourth in career wins in IndyCar Series history.

Wheldon had to overcome several obstacles on the way to his first Indianapolis 500 victory. Starting from the middle of the pack, the Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew made small improvements to his car throughout the race. With each stop, the crew made minor wing adjustments or tire pressure changes until the car achieved a near-perfect balance. Over the last 30 laps of the race, Wheldon battled Bryan Herta and Danica Patrick. On fresh tires and having no issues with fuel, Wheldon overtook Patrick with seven laps remaining and never relinquished the lead.

Wheldon's victory was a landmark win in many ways. Not only was it was Wheldon's first Indy triumph, it was also the first Indianapolis 500 victory for a driver who started from the 16th position. It was the first victory for a car carrying the number '26' at Indianapolis and it was the first win by a British driver since Graham Hill won in 1966. The win was also the 14th victory for Andretti Green in its short IndyCar Series history, making it the winningest team in the history of the 10-year old series.

Vitor Meira and Herta rounded out the top three, followed by Patrick and Buddy Lazier.

The IndyCar Series schedule resumes Saturday, June 11, from Texas Motor Speedway for the Bombardier Learjet 500. ESPN will provide live broadcast coverage of the event beginning at 8:30 p.m. (EDT).

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

"I have to thank the Hulman-George family for putting on this race.  This is the first time I've ever cried in
a race car.  I think this is the best race in the world and it's the most difficult to win.  I couldn't have done it
without my teammates; they're all very talented individuals.  I'm just very happy for everyone at Andretti Green
Racing.  All I know is that there's going to be a big party for Klein Tools and Jim Beam tonight."

John Anderson, Team Manager, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"It was an awesome day for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team. What really amazed me was that at about lap 100, Dan had worked his way up to fifth or sixth. And, looking at the strength of Dario (Franchitti) and Tony (Kanaan), I didn't think we had anything for them. But sure enough, he did. What really put us in victory lane was the grit and drive of the guy behind the wheel."

-agr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Graham Hill , John Anderson , Jim Beam , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira