IRL: Wheldon Test in the West notes 2003-02-04

Fontana, California (February 4, 2003) -- Andretti Green Racing driver Dan Wheldon turned the first laps in his 2003 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone today at the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Test in the West at...

Fontana, California (February 4, 2003) -- Andretti Green Racing driver Dan Wheldon turned the first laps in his 2003 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone today at the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Test in the West at California Speedway. Wheldon was slowed by a mechanical problem which limited his track time and was only able to post a best lap of 219.196 mph (32.8473 seconds), placing him 15th on the day.

The 24 year-old Englishman, who ran the afternoon session only, was hampered by a problem in the fuel cell of his Klein Tools/Jim Beam car. After completing more than 2000 miles in a converted 2002 Dallara/Honda, Wheldon was only able to log 52 miles today.

Felipe Giaffone led today's practice session with a speed of 225.714 mph (31.8988 seconds). Tomas Scheckter was second at 223.186 mph (32.2601 seconds) and Wheldon's technical partner Tony Kanaan was third quickest in the Team 7-Eleven entry with a speed of 222.547 mph (32.527 seconds). Wheldon's other technical partner, Dario Franchitti, placed his #27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola entry fourth on the speed charts with a top speed of 222.534 mph. (32.3546 seconds)

The Test in the West takes a two-day hiatus before the IndyCar Series gets back on the track at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, February 7. The AGR crew will spend the next couple of days converting their cars from its superspeedway configuration to a short oval set up.

Dan Wheldon, #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam

"We had a limited amount of track time today but I still think we learned some things. This is the first time I drove the 2003 Dallara/Honda/Firestone and there are some similarities to last year's car but I can definitely feel some improvements. We had a mechanical problem that kept us from getting up to speed today but that is one of the benefits of having teammates. We'll be able to compare all of the data and hopefully learn some things."

Tony Cotman, Team Manager Andretti Green Racing

"We had very limited track time today and things were going quite alright. We were able to get Dan (Wheldon) a feel for the car and also a chance to get him fitted in the car. Unfortunately we got cut short by a problem in the fuel cell and all in all that is disappointing. I don't think this is going to put us behind at all because we know we're going to have some days like this so it's good to get one out of the way."

-agr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam