IRL: Nazareth: AGR/Wheldon race report

Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon earns another top-10 finish at Nazareth Speedway. NAZARETH, Pa. (August 24, 2003) -- Klein Tools/Jim Beam rookie driver Dan Wheldon scored his sixth top-10 finish of the season in the Firestone Indy 225 on...

Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon earns another top-10 finish at Nazareth Speedway.

NAZARETH, Pa. (August 24, 2003) -- Klein Tools/Jim Beam rookie driver Dan Wheldon scored his sixth top-10 finish of the season in the Firestone Indy 225 on today at Nazareth Speedway finishing in the seventh position.

Wheldon started from the inside of the seventh row in the Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone and ran around the 13th position for the first-half of the race. Wheldon entered the pits in 12th on his second stop and the Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew put on an outstanding performance to get him out of the pits in eighth. Wheldon pitted a third time under the second to last yellow of the day, gambling that everyone in front of him would have to stop under green. When the final yellow fell just 25 laps from the end, which allowed the leaders to conserve fuel and finish without stopping. Wheldon still drove hard and was able to get around Roger Yasukawa, whom he is battling with for the rookie-of-the-year title.

Helio Castroneves went on to win the event -- his second victory in the past three races and was followed by Sam Hornish, Jr. Wheldon's teammate Bryan Herta finished third for the second race in a row. Tony Kanaan, who came into the race leading the points chase, was involved in an accident with Tomas Scheckter on lap 120 and finished 18th.

Kanaan's misfortune dropped him from the #1 spot in the series point standings -- a ranking he has enjoyed for nine of the 13 weeks this season. He now ranks third and trails new leader Castroneves by 34 points (429-397). Gil de Ferran sits second with 404 points, while Scott Dixon stands fourth with 387. Hornish remains in the fifth spot, totaling 348 points.

The IRL IndyCar Series gets back into action, two weeks from today at Chicagoland Speedway.

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

"I would have liked a bit better finish today, but the team did a fantastic job. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew is always very strong. This is a place that I'd really like to come back to and test because I've still got some things I need to work on, but it was a good, solid finish. It's certainly not what I wanted. I just want to do the best job I can and win a race before the end of the season."

Tony Cotman, Team Manager, Klein Tools/Jim Beam

"We're a bit disappointed because we were hoping for a little better finish. I think if there hadn't been a yellow at the end there, we might have looked far better off because I'm sure there were a few guys that would have had to stop. But, that is the way it is."

-agr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Roger Yasukawa , Jim Beam , Sam Hornis