IRL: Pikes Peak: Indy Racing League news and notes 2005-09-22

Today's IRL headlines 1. Wheldon delivers big wins 2. Several share post-race rewards 1. Wheldon delivers big wins: Dan Wheldon has delivered some of Honda's biggest victories in its three years in the IndyCar Series -- the first at its Twin...

Today's IRL headlines
1. Wheldon delivers big wins
2. Several share post-race rewards

1. Wheldon delivers big wins: Dan Wheldon has delivered some of Honda's biggest victories in its three years in the IndyCar Series -- the first at its Twin Ring Motegi oval in 2004, a repeat performance this year, and the inaugural Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in April to name a few.

The latest -- in the Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway -- came on the 10th anniversary of Honda's first Indy-style victory.

"It seems that I win a lot of the special races for Honda, and I'm certainly proud of that," said Wheldon, who took the lead for good on Lap 165 on the 1-mile tri-oval and coasted to the victory over Sam Hornish Jr. "I've been part of that family now for about three years."

Andretti Green Racing co-owner Michael Andretti expects to have Wheldon, whose contract expires at the end of the season, remain part of the extended family for years to come.

"We hope that Dan will be a part of the team, and we're sure that it's going to happen," Andretti said after the race. "Dan has been a great part of AGR from day one, and hopefully he's going to spend many, many years with us."

For now, the IndyCar Series points leader turns his attention to the 2.26-mile, 12-turn road course at Infineon Raceway with the intention of moving even closer to becoming the first Indianapolis 500 winner and series champion in the same year. Wheldon (505) holds a 97-point lead over Hornish, runner-up for the fourth time this season. Reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan is third with 385 points, and Dario Franchitti is fourth (371).

"I look forward to the rest of the season," said Wheldon, who tied Hornish's record with his fifth victory of the season. "Until it's mathematically impossible for anybody to catch me, I'm going to keep trying to do the same. I would love to try and get six wins. That statistic of most race wins in a season is something pretty special to me."

Wheldon built his cushion on four victories in the initial five races, and has been steady and smart since. Starting 11th at Pikes Peak, he knifed his way to seventh on Lap 18 and moved to sixth on Lap 26. He patiently ran in fifth (give or take one position) from Laps 40-90, and was third to teammate Dario Franchitti and Hornish on Lap 110.

On Lap 121, Wheldon caught and passed Hornish for second and had Franchitti in his sights. He took the point on Lap 153 when Franchitti got bottled up in traffic in Turn 3, and regained the lead on Lap 165 after his final pit stop.

"If you can win a championship and win a lot of races on the way, that would be pretty special," he said. "Like I say, it's still mathematically possible for a lot of people to beat me. We'll see what happens."

Honda Indy 225 numbers of note

12.4763: Margin of victory for Dan Wheldon over Sam Hornish Jr. The Honda Indy 225 had the fifth-largest margin of victory in IndyCar Series history and was only the seventh race with a margin of victory of more than 10 seconds. The five IndyCar Series races with the greatest margin of victory are: <pre> Margin of victory Date Track Winner Second 1 lap Oct. 1999 Texas Mark Dismore Davey Hamilton 20.4 seconds Aug. 1996 New Hampshire Scott Sharp Buzz Calkins 19.857 seconds April 2001 Atlanta Greg Ray Scott Sharp 12.5310 April 2000 Las Vegas Al Unser Jr. Mark Dismore 12.4763 seconds Aug. 2005 Pikes Peak Dan Wheldon Sam Hornish Jr.

1:27:46.9201: Time of the race. This is the ninth time in IndyCar Series history that a race has been completed in under 1 hour 30 minutes. Seven of those races have taken place at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

1: Number of caution periods. The Honda Indy 225 was only the third race in IndyCar Series history with one caution period. The last came at California Speedway in 2003. The first was at Kentucky Speedway in 2003.

13: Number of races it took for Dan Wheldon to record his fifth victory of the season, tying Sam Hornish Jr. for most wins in a season. In 2002, Hornish won his fifth race of the season in the 15th race.

50: Record number of races led by Sam Hornish Jr. in his IndyCar Series career. Hornish led a race-high 71 laps in the Honda Indy 225 to bring his IndyCar Series record of laps led to 2,514.

***

2. Several share post-race rewards: Several IndyCar Series drivers reaped benefits following the Honda Indy 225 Race winner Dan Wheldon was presented with an engraved Formula One timepiece from TAG Heuer, the official timekeeper and watch of the Indy Racing League. TAG Heuer presents an engraved Formula One timepiece to the winner of each IndyCar Series event The design of the TAG Heuer Formula 1 has been upgraded and redesigned from its original version. It features a titanium-coated steel bezel, protective bumpers, and the six legendary features that define a TAG Heuer sportswatch -- screw-in crown, unidirectional turning bezel, luminescent hands and hour markers, scratch resistant sapphire crystal, water resistance to 200m and a double safety clasp.

Dario Franchitti collected the Firestone Performance Award and its $10,000 prize for leading Lap 116 of the race. Franchitti also posted the fastest race lap, taking the lead in the season-long race for the Argent Mortgage Fastest Lap Award.

Argent will award $25,000 to the entrant of the driver who completes the fastest lap the most number of times in the 2005 IndyCar Series season. Franchitti has three fastest laps.

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues Aug. 28 with the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) at Infineon Raceway. The race will be telecast by ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast also will be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Sonoma 100 on Aug. 28 at Infineon Raceway. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 1.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Mark Dismore , Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornish Jr.