WHELDON CRUISES TO WIN AT KANSAS KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Sunday, April 29, 2007) -- Dan Wheldon led 177 of 200 laps to win the Kansas Lottery Indy 300, becoming the seventh driver to win at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in as many events. Wheldon, who ...
WHELDON CRUISES TO WIN AT KANSAS
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Sunday, April 29, 2007) -- Dan Wheldon led 177 of 200 laps to win the Kansas Lottery Indy 300, becoming the seventh driver to win at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in as many events.
Wheldon, who started fourth in his Target Chip Ganassi Racing-prepared car, surged to the front in the opening laps, running side-by-side with pole sitter Tony Kanaan for several laps before completing the pass for the lead on Lap 9.
>From that point, the 2005 IndyCar Series champion relinquished the lead only when the field cycled through pit stops. Kanaan lost eight laps during a Lap 49 pit stop when Andretti Green Racing teammate Danica Patrick pulled out in front of him, damaging his car's left-front suspension.
Wheldon's teammate, Scott Dixon, who led 16 laps, was issued a drive-thru penalty for a pit stop violation on Lap 158. That left AGR's Dario Franchitti as the top contender, but he was more than 11 seconds behind Wheldon when Scott Sharp spun and made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 on the white flag lap.
Franchitti finished second while Helio Castroneves was third, Dixon was fourth and Tomas Scheckter was fifth.
The win is Wheldon's second of the season and gives him a 27-point advantage over Dixon in the season standing heading into the Indianapolis 500.
The Kansas Lottery Indy 300 was the first IndyCar Series race to feature three women in the field. Patrick finished seventh while Sarah Fisher was 12th and Milka Duno was 14th.
Sharp and Ed Carpenter were involved in the only two incidents during the race. Both were checked and released from the infield medical center.
KANSAS LOTTERY INDY 300 POST-RACE QUOTES:
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished first): "It was a pure team effort from the Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew. Everybody did a great job. We're gearing up, we're going to go for the big one now. The Indianapolis 500, that's the big goal for us. I was frustrated since Motegi and wanted to prove a point. The car was fantastic."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished second): "I'm just happy the Canadian Club car is looking fast right now leading into Indy, and that's what we need."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished third): "The Team Penske car handled well most of the day, and I'm very happy with our result. We didn't have the car to win, so we just made sure we played it conservatively and brought the car home. We set out to finish in the top three and that's just what we did. Now we have to look ahead to Indy and the entire month of May."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fifth): "Great job by everybody. The engineers gave me a great car today, and everything came together. We've been waiting for some of these performances, running in the top five. We still need a little bit more."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished sixth): "Unfortunately, we missed on the setup with the Team Penske car today and as a result we lost a lap during the first stint. We worked on the car through numerous pit stops during the yellow flag laps and improved it to the point where we were running as quick as the leaders. We managed to climb back through the field but never could get the lap back. It was a tough race for Team Penske, but we had some good pit stops and the guys hung in there for me today to improve the car and keep me calm. With all things considered, a sixth-place finish is probably as good as we could have asked for, and I'm really happy that we were able to bring the car home safely."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished seventh): "Seventh is our best result of the year, but it is not what we want. We had an alright day on the track, but we obviously had a problem in the pits. Our car was tough to drive in the middle of the race, but we managed to get seventh. I don't know how far I was down after the problem in the pits, but I know we came back a little bit."
(About the incident with Tony Kanaan in the pits): "I might actually be the worst person to ask because when you're sitting in the car, you listen and you look for when to go. Kim (Green) is on the radio and 'Poppy' (crew chief Dave Popielarz), on my right front, he tells me when to go, too. I listened to them and they said 'go.' Obviously, TK was there. I feel bad because Tony had a really fast car, for sure, but it cost both of us a chance to win a race for AGR. That is never what we want."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 22 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished ninth): "I thought it was a pretty strong day. We got a lap down, but we weren't a lap down car for sure. Keep the momentum and go to Indy."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 10th): "I think we got everything we could out of the car and probably got more out of it than we should have. There were cars out there that were faster than us, but the crew did a great job keeping us in good track position. We've got to keep working on finding speed and stability. Hopefully the ethanol fans that came out and supported us this weekend were pleased with our effort."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 17th): "It was kind of bittersweet. We had a pretty good run going. We started a little further back, but same as at Homestead, I was confident we would get to the front, and we got there pretty quick. The guys did a good job, had a great car. The conditions were tough. Just got out in the second groove trying to pass a lapped car and there wasn't as much as grip out there. Unfortunately, the car stepped out and I lost it."
SARAH FISHER (No. 4 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 12th): "We definitely made improvements on the race car. There at the end we were running with the pack. We just have to keep working on it. We will get there. We are starting to gell as a team, and having the month of May to continue to fine tune things will benefit us greatly. Also, I'm so proud of Milka. She did a great job out there. I'm sure she is very relieved to get that first race out of the way."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 15th): "This is an extremely disappointing day. The Team 7-Eleven car was capable of winning."
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 20th): "Basically we had three straight top-10s and expected to have a good run today. We had some mechanical issues which was why we qualified so poorly and why we exited the race. It's a disappointing way to go into the month of May. We should have been solidly in the top 10."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Patron Sharp Rahal-Letterman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 13th): "The Patron car was pretty good for the first half of the race, but that last set of tires didn't work for us. I don't know what happened with it, but we couldn't get any speed at all out of it. After the final stop, the car had a lot of slide in the corners and we fought the back of the car for the whole run, but we thought we could bring it home. It just snapped on me in between turns three and four and that was that."
The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. (ET) on May 27. The race will be telecast live by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Freedom 100 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast as part of ESPN2's coverage of Carb Day at 4 p.m. on May 25.