IRL: Motegi: AGR, Wheldon race report

WHELDON REPEATS AT MOTEGI IN KLEIN TOOLS/JIM BEAM CAR MOTEGI, Japan (April 30, 2005) - Dan Wheldon, driver of the ...


MOTEGI, Japan (April 30, 2005) - Dan Wheldon, driver of the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam car, used a little bit of luck, some great fuel strategy and an enormous amount of skilled driving to capture his second- consecutive win at Twin Ring Motegi. The win, Wheldon's sixth victory in the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series, was his third checkered flag of the 2005 season. He becomes the first driver in IndyCar Series history to win three of the first four races in a season and now leads the IndyCar Series points championship by 46 points.

Wheldon spent the first half of the race among the top-five drivers and by the halfway point, he was running in third place. Wheldon took his first lead on lap 122 when the race resumed after a caution. On the restart, he passed two teammates, Bryan Herta and Dario Franchitti, to take the lead.

On lap 139 of the 200-lap event, another accident slowed the field and brought strategy and fuel conservation into the race equation. Two laps later, Wheldon came into the pits leading the race and took fuel only. Trying to conserve fuel, Wheldon was in third place late in the race when many cars were forced to pit after lap 195. On lap 198, race leader Tomas Scheckter ran out of fuel on the front stretch, the race went yellow on the next lap and Wheldon secured the victory. It was on his victory lap that Wheldon's Klein Tools/Jim Beam car ran out of fuel on the backstretch, where it had to be towed in to begin the victory celebration.

Honda-powered drivers swept the top-six positions with Scott Sharp, Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick finishing second, third and fourth, respectively. Wheldon's AGR teammates, Herta and Tony Kanaan, rounded out the top six.

The IndyCar Series schedule resumes Sunday, May 29, from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. ABC Sports will provide live broadcast coverage of the 200-lap event beginning at 12 p.m. (EDT).

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

"Obviously Andretti Green Racing has had a great year to this point, but the results have been difficult to come by. I'm very proud to have won my second-consecutive Indy Japan 300 for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team. The race was very difficult, but it was a great team effort and it's great to win for Honda again."

Eddie Jones, Race Engineer, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"We knew we were going to be close on fuel when we came in for the last fill (on lap 141). We were getting very good mileage out of the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car and Dan was really driving well. We knew that we were good on fuel until the end and we were fairly sure Tony (Kanaan) and (Tomas) Scheckter wouldn't be."


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jim Beam , Danica Patrick