Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon On Pole at Motegi MOTEGI, Japan (April 16, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon earned his second consecutive Indy Racing LeagueÂ® IndyCarÂ® Series pole position during qualifying for the ...
Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon On Pole at Motegi
MOTEGI, Japan (April 16, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon earned his second consecutive Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series pole position during qualifying for the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 today at Twin Ring Motegi. The 25-year-old Brit lapped the egg-shaped 1.5-mile oval at 205.762 miles per hour.
Wheldon, the 2003 IndyCar Series Rookie-of-the-Year, posted the fourth fastest time in the morning practice session, but wasn't sure he would have the speed to contend for the pole. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car was the 19th of 22 cars to qualify during the session and Wheldon knew the mark he had to beat to win his second career pole.
Wheldon joins teammate Tony Kanaan as the only drivers in IRL history to win their first two pole positions consecutively.
Kanaan will start third in the Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone after a lap at 205.690 miles per hour, just .03 miles per hour behind Honda-powered Greg Ray. Alpine driver Dario Franchitti will roll off the grid ninth and Bryan Herta will start 11th in the XM Satellite Radio Honda-powered Dallara.
Wheldon will lead the IndyCar Series field to the green flag for tomorrow's 300-mile race Friday at 11:30 p.m. (EDT). The Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 will air live on ESPN2.
Dan Wheldon, Driver, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"It's fantastic for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew and Honda for us to win our second pole and for it to come at Japan. Eddie Jones (race engineer) helped me immensely. He looked at the data last night and he was able to give me exactly the car I was looking for. Tony Kanaan also gave me some information that really benefited me during the run. It was a pretty scary lap. That was the earliest I had gotten back on the throttle in Turns 3 and 4 and let me tell you it was a ride."
Tony Kanaan, Team Manager, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"It was an exceptional job by the whole Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew. We didn't get that much running yesterday and just a little today before the qualifying session. This is the value of having a multi-car team. We have a choice of setups and we selected one and made it happen. We have a very good starting position and now we have to capitalize on it."