IRL: Phoenix: Dan Wheldon Friday report

Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon Seventh In Practice at Phoenix AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 19, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon posted the seventh fastest time in practice Friday for the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® ...

Klein Tools/Jim Beam Driver Dan Wheldon Seventh In Practice at Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 19, 2004) - Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon posted the seventh fastest time in practice Friday for the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series Copper World Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.  Wheldon posted a top speed of 170.872 miles per hour at the one-mile desert oval.

Wheldon, last year's IndyCar Series Rookie-of-the-Year, struggled to find mechanical grip with his Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone in the unseasonably warm temperatures.  The team worked through both practice sessions to find the elusive grip needed to improve their position and will continue their efforts tomorrow morning in the final practice session before qualifying.

Wheldon's Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan was third quickest on the day behind defending series champion Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves.  Kanaan posted a quick speed of 174.353 miles per hour.  Dario Franchitti turned a best lap at 171.322 miles per hour which was good enough for sixth quickest and Bryan Herta posted a lap at 167.289 miles per hour.

Qualifying will begin at 2 p.m. (EST) tomorrow for the Copper World Indy 200 with the start of Round 2 of the 2004 IndyCar Series coming at 4 p.m. (EST) on Sunday.

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

"We know what we need to get around here at Phoenix but we just can't seem to get it.  We have a little concern because we've faced the same problem all day and we haven't been able to fix it completely.  The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car was good but we need it to be better.  We need to get through qualifying and start as close to the front as we can and then get together with our teammates and see what we can do to improve it."

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

"We are struggling a little bit with a lack of grip right now, but probably most of the teams are.  The heat has a lot to do with that. When we last tested out here it was no where near this hot.  Come Sunday whoever can find the most mechanical grip will have a really good chance."

-agr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam