Dan Wheldon to race in IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas
|By Jamie O'Leary||Wednesday, September 14th 2011, 12:08 GMT|
Dan Wheldon will race at the IndyCar finale at Las Vegas as part of a $5million challenge set-up by race and championship organisers.
The 33-year-old Briton dramatically won the Indianapolis 500 on what was his only IndyCar appearance so far this season, and will drive a car jointly-entered by Bryan Herta Autosport and Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
Regardless of his practice speed, Wheldon will start the race from the back of the grid, but will win the $5 million if he can take victory in the race.
If that happens, the money will be split equally between Wheldon and one of the many fans who have registered to take part in the competition.
"I am really excited to return with SSM and BHA to follow-up our success at this year's Indy 500 and go after another race win, especially with this carrot on the end of the stick," said Wheldon, the 2005 IndyCar champion.
"We had a first-class program for Indy, and I am confident that we will be a strong contender again in Vegas. Hopefully, myself and one lucky fan will be smiling on October 16."
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said that the challenge had been initiated in order to enhance 'the show' for motorsport fans.
"We said at the beginning of the season we wanted to offer our fans value, competition and entertainment and charge through the field will only further heighten the drama around what's shaping up to be one of our biggest championships," Bernard said.
"We set out to prove that we have the best drivers in the world and putting Dan at the back of a 30-plus car field to weave his way through traffic at speeds in excess of 215 mph will certainly prove that."
The challenge replaces the inital $5 million prize that was offered to any non-IndyCar regular who could win the Vegas race. That initiative was abandoned last week with Scott Speed the only driver to sign-up for it.