IRL: Motegi: Wheldon Saturday notes

Wheldon to start fifth in Twin Ring Motegi race. Dan Wheldon has qualified in fifth place for his debut race with Andretti Green Racing -- tomorrow's Indy Japan 300 IRL IndyCar Series event at the 1.5 mile Twin Motegi Super Speedway in ...

Wheldon to start fifth in Twin Ring Motegi race.

Dan Wheldon has qualified in fifth place for his debut race with Andretti Green Racing -- tomorrow's Indy Japan 300 IRL IndyCar Series event at the 1.5 mile Twin Motegi Super Speedway in Japan.

Heavy rain forced the cancellation ofqualifying after just six of the 24 drivers made their qualifying runs, and Wheldon earned his impressive starting place for the historic first IRL IndyCar Series race overseas by posting the fifth practice speed of the weekend, 206.020 mph (26.5605 seconds), in the No. 27 Alpine / Archipelago / Motorola Dallara / Honda / Firestone, deputising for the injured Dario Franchitti.

The starting grid was set by the fastest overall speeds from two practice sessionson Friday and the pre-qualifying practice today (Saturday).

Dan Wheldon's Andretti Green Racing team-mates, Tony Kanaan and Michael Andretti, will start tomorrow's race from second and tenth places, respectively.

Kim Green, President of Andretti Green Racing, commented:'I think all three drivers are working well together and, certainly, Dan Wheldon has done a great job filling in for Dario(Franchitti).'

Once the starting grid had been determined, Dan Wheldon said:'The Alpine / Archipelago / Motorola crew has done a great job this weekend. I know I still have a lot to learn but, as the race progresses, I'm sure I'll catch up pretty quick. The team has given me a lot of confidence, and they allow me to believe that I'm going to do great in the race!'

Wheldon competed in his first two IndyCar Series races for Panther Racing last year. In 1999 he won the US Formula Ford 2000 Championship and was Rookie of the Year. He came second in bot h the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship (2000) and the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship (2001) and was Rookie of the Year in both series.

-www.danwheldon.com-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Kim Green