IRL: St. Pete: Dan Wheldon race report

WHELDON WINS AGAIN IN KLEIN TOOLS/JIM BEAM CAR ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 3, 2005) - Dan Wheldon, driver of the ...


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 3, 2005) - Dan Wheldon, driver of the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam car, worked his way near the front, found his opening with eight laps remaining and went on to win the inaugural Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The win -- Wheldon's fifth career Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series victory -- moved him back into the lead in the 2005 IndyCar Series championship chase.

Wheldon took advantage of some bold strategy by taking an early pit stop under yellow-flag conditions on lap 16. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew got the car back to the track in 10th place, but five of the drivers ahead of them did not pit. By lap 39, the leaders had all pitted and Wheldon found himself in second position.

On lap 62, Wheldon took the lead for one lap and then came in to pit on lap 63 under green-flag conditions, returning to the track in 10th place. One more time, Wheldon moved up through the field as others in front of him made pit stops and had moved back into third place by lap 80 of the 100-lap event.

Despite a battle with brake issues near the end, Wheldon found himself in the right place at the right time when Ryan Briscoe and Wheldon's AGR teammate, Tony Kanaan, touched on lap 192. Although Kanaan came out of the brush unscathed, Wheldon moved ahead of him and went on to lead the remaining eight laps of the race to claim the second IndyCar Series win of 2005 for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team.

Wheldon's win, combined with a second-place finish by Tony Kanaan, a third-place result by Dario Franchitti and a fourth-place finish by Bryan Herta gave AGR the first top-four sweep in IndyCar Series history.

The fourth race of the 17-race IndyCar Series schedule is set for Saturday, April 30 in Motegi, Japan where Wheldon is the defending champion. The Indy Japan 300 is set to go green at 12 a.m. (EDT) with live broadcast coverage provided by ESPN2.

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

"I just managed to pick up a few spots here and there and with a little bit of strategy, the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team was able to run up near the front. It's a fantastic day for the entire Andretti Green Racing team. To have my teammates and I finish '1-2-3-4,' it's just exceptional and it will be very difficult for it to happen again. To accomplish all of this in St. Petersburg is very special."

Eddie Jones, Race Engineer, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"It was just a great day for Andretti Green Racing. But, Dan Wheldon - what a terrific drive. We knew that once we were able to turn up on fuel at the end and give him full power, that we really had a quick car. If the race had unfolded a bit differently, the winner could have been any of our three teammates, but fortunately for us, it went the way it did."


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Briscoe , Jim Beam