IRL: Nazareth: AGR, Wheldon Saturday report

NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 28, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon posted a best lap of 165.093 miles per hour (20.3885 seconds) in qualifications today to score the eight- starting position for tomorrow's running of the Firestone Indy 225 at...

NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 28, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon posted a best lap of 165.093 miles per hour (20.3885 seconds) in qualifications today to score the eight- starting position for tomorrow's running of the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway. The 225-lap event will be the final IndyCar Series event at the track.

Wheldon, who pilots the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, was one of four Andretti Green Racing drivers to qualify in the top eight on the 1-mile oval. This marks the seventh time in 2004 that Wheldon has qualified in the top 10.

Wheldon has eight top-three finishes to his credit in the first 12 races this year, including a current string of three in a row. He heads into tomorrow's event sitting third in the IndyCar Series standings and is 82 points from the top spot, which is occupied by teammate Tony Kanaan. He trails second-place Buddy Rice by just 14 points.

Helio Castroneves will start from the pole with a fast lap of 167.396 miles per hour (20.1080 seconds), followed by Sam Hornish Jr. who came in at 167.100 miles per hour (20.1436 seconds). Kanaan qualified third with a speed of 166.591 miles per hour (20.2052 seconds), followed by teammate Dario Franchitti with a speed of 165.684 miles per hour (20.3158 seconds). Darren Manning qualified for the fifth position with a fast lap of 165.609 miles per hour (20.3250 seconds). Adrian Fernandez took the sixth spot at 165.566 miles per hour (20.3303 seconds), and XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta qualified seventh with a speed of 165.435 miles per hour (20.3464 seconds).

Andretti Green Racing drivers have won seven of the 12 races run this season, including the two won by Wheldon at Twin Ring Motegi and Richmond International Raceway.

The Firestone Indy 225 - Race 13 of the 2004 IndyCar Series season - is set to begin Sunday at 2:25 p.m. (EDT) with ABC Sports providing live coverage beginning at 2 p.m.

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

"I had a bit too much understeer, which didn't help, but it wasn't a bad run. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam team has done a very good job, though, and this is a place I am getting more and more comfortable with. Every time I come here we get better and better. We've got a very well-balanced and consistent car for the race."

Tony Cotman, Team Manager, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"I think we've got to be pretty happy with the race car we have. Qualifying was okay, but I was hoping for a couple of spots better. At Nazareth, a short oval, anything can happen, and I'm pretty happy with the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Helio Castroneves , Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr.