Wheldon Joins British Greats

Dan Wheldon is having a hard time appreciating that his image will join Britain's heroes Jim Clark and Graham Hill on the coveted Borg-Warner trophy commemorating a famous victory at the Indy 500

Wheldon Joins British Greats

The 26-year-old was not even born when Clark and Hill won America's most famous auto race in the mid-1960s. Flickering images on film or television are all the exciting young driver who hails from Emberton in England can remember.

"I've seen highlights of Jim Clark and Graham Hill. I can't remember it, it was certainly a long time ago," said Wheldon who on Sunday became the first British Indy 500 winner since Hill.

Clark won the race in 1965 and fellow Formula One driver Hill, father of 1996 F1 World Champion Damon, made sure the Borg-Warner trophy stayed in British hands the following year.

But more than the past, what matters to Andretti Green Racing driver Wheldon is just being at the 'Brickyard' oval.

"The real big deal was being here for the first time," he said, which was in 1999 when Wheldon chose to race in America rather than take the more familiar path to Formula One.

"I'm certainly a big fan of the history and tradition. Just to achieve what Graham Hill and Jim Clark [did]... I'm proud of that. It's very special, [but] it hasn't sunk in just yet."

Wheldon further said he hoped his Indy 500 victory will bring him more fame in his home country.

"I know how big Mr. Clark and Mr. Hill are in England. They are the very recognised talents. One of the big reasons is the [victories at the] Indy 500. Certainly it means a lot to me.

"Those guys in England were already in Formula One at the time or had been back and forth. I haven't gone that route, but this is very special because it is the pinnacle of motorsport."

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Series IndyCar
Author Lewis Franck
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