Dan Wheldon Q&A

Some might say that Dan Wheldon has come out of left field to grab the IRL IndyCar seat that Michael Andretti will vacate after the Indianapolis 500. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Wheldon served a race-winning apprenticeship in the defunct Indy Lights series and completed thousands of valuable test miles (and a couple of IRL races) for Panther Racing in 2002. For the last three months, Wheldon has served a vital role putting miles on the new Honda/Ilmor engine, a role he will continue until his racing season begins at Indianapolis. He talked about his prospects for the upcoming season with John Oreovicz

Dan Wheldon Q&A



Yes. It's a perfect opportunity for me. I've known Team Green for a while and I've seen and learned from Michael on the track. So to combine those two, and have partners like Jim Beam and Klein Tools is perfect for me - I can win races.



Actually, I've been in this situation many times. I drove for the factory Van Diemen team in England and I had to develop their '98 car. Fortunately, I think I've always done a good job. With Honda, what I've done is basically put miles on the motor over a two-day period each time at different tracks and gave my feel for how the motor could be better or work differently. Basically just answering questions and giving input to try to make this a race-winning engine.



I'm sure I'm going to be busy. My initial role in the team was test driver, and I'm sure they're going to have me testing. I hope the work I've done will benefit the guys. There may be times when Michael, Dario or Tony is at one track and they may want me to be at another. The best thing I can do is fit in as many days as possible leading up to that actual race.



I haven't actually driven it yet, but listening to the guys' input, it seems to be an improvement. It's certainly a different car, but from Dallara, you expect nothing but the best. I'm expecting good things.



Same as they always have been - to win as many races as I can as quick as I possible can. I haven't been brought in to come fourth or fifth. I've been brought in to win, and that's what I'm going to work on. Obviously the other guys are more experienced so I have to learn a lot from them, from Michael in particular. But I want to try to win as soon as I possibly can.

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