Wheldon honoured to win rookie crown

Briton Dan Wheldon was thrilled after winning the IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year title in style at Texas Motor Speedway yesterday (Sunday). Wheldon claimed the title by finishing a career-best third in the final race of the season

Wheldon honoured to win rookie crown

The Andretti Green Racing driver's accomplishment is particularly impressive because he was did not compete in the full season. Wheldon began the year as the team's test driver, although he subbed for the injured Dario Franchitti at Motegi. He then took over from the retiring Michael Andretti from Indianapolis for the remainder of the season.

"It's fantastic," said Wheldon. "I am just very thankful to (team owners) Michael (Andretti), Kim (Green) and Kevin (Savoree) for giving me this opportunity. I think it is going to help us start off next year very well, if and when we work out a deal."

Wheldon beat Roger Yasukawa for the honour, and admitted that the competition level of the IRL series made his prize even more important.

"It's a real pleasure and honour to be Rookie of the Year in this series because, boy, I tell you, it's so competitive," he said. "It's my opinion, but it's the best championship in the world. It's so, so competitive. I think that shows you what a good series this is, and I'm looking to be part of it for a very long time."

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