IRL: Richmond: AGR/Wheldon preview

Wheldon looking to change luck in Virginia INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 24, 2003) -- Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon is looking to change his luck at the Suntrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, June ...

Wheldon looking to change luck in Virginia

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 24, 2003) -- Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon is looking to change his luck at the Suntrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, June 28.

After disappointing finishes in the last three races, the 24 year-old Brit is working toward putting a complete weekend together and building momentum for the upcoming stretch of seven races in nine weeks.

"I'm looking forward to the race in Richmond and I'm really hoping for a change in luck," said Wheldon. "The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car has been competitive, but we just haven't put a full weekend together."

Saturday's start will be Wheldon's second on a short track and his first at the three-quarter-mile high-banked oval at the Virginia State Fairgrounds. It will also be Wheldon's second start under the lights. His previous night experience was at Texas, two races ago where he started 13th and finished 19th with a mechanical problem. Wheldon started 13th again at the one-mile Pikes Peak oval and finished 20th after battling an ill-handling car all race long.

"From what I understand about night racing, the biggest thing we have to be careful of is how the temperature change affects the car," said Wheldon. "I have a feeling the car will get loose as the track cools down, and after driving an extremely loose race car in Pikes Peak I don't want repeat that experience."

Team manager Tony Cotman believes the team needs to learn from its last race and set realistic goals for Richmond.

"We're racing at a tight bullring this weekend," said Cotman. "It is important that we keep our nose clean and stay out of trouble. We gambled on our setup and gave Dan a bad car last race and we need to forget about Pikes Peak and concentrate on finishing the race at Richmond. A top-five finish would be great for the team."

Qualifying for the Suntrust Indy Challenge will take place on Friday at 5:30 p.m. (EDT). The race is set for Saturday night at 8 p.m. (EDT) and will be broadcast live on ESPN.

- AGR -

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jim Beam