Wheldon Battles to Seventh Place Finish at Texas Motor Speedway
National Guard Driver Runs as High As Fifth, Settles for Sixth Top Ten of Season
FORT WORTH, Texas (June 6, 2009) - Dan Wheldon battled to a seventh place finish in Saturday night\'s Bombardier Learjet 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, securing the team\'s fifth consecutive Top Ten finish this season. With the finish, Wheldon remains in sixth position in the IndyCar Series championship standings, 47 points behind current points leader Ryan Briscoe.
After qualifying seventh for the race, Wheldon quickly moved within the Top Five by Lap 21 as he battled with the Andretti Green Racing duo of Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick. Those three drivers continued to battle throughout the night, into the final restart of the race on Lap 181, where Wheldon was able to move past Patrick for the fifth position, but then she took the position back on Lap 192 when she was able to get her nose below the No. 4 car on the backstretch. Wheldon slipped one more position as Andretti charged up through the field, but Wheldon held off championship rival Tony Kanaan for the seventh-place result.
Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe finished first and second, respectively, giving the team two of the three podium positions. Scott Dixon was third.
The IndyCar Series will be off next weekend before traveling to Iowa Speedway on Sunday June 21st, with live television coverage on ABC at 1 p.m. (EST) and additional coverage provided by IMS Radio Network and XM Sirius Channel 211
Wheldon is the defending winner of the Iowa Speedway event, after winning there with Ganassi Racing in 2008. It was one of two races he won in 2008 after finishing fourth in the IndyCar Series championship in the No. 10 car. Panther finished 15th there last season with Vitor Meira, after two incidents in pit lane ended what appeared to be at Top Five result. In 2007, Meira led 71 laps before finishing ninth after a suspension failure.
Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda
\"For whatever reason, we just lacked a little bit of speed compared to what we had in practice and we geared the National Guard Panther Racing car to be quicker. Again, the Panther guys worked really hard and got us to the end, but we seem to make it difficult for ourselves sometimes. As time goes on, we\'re going to continue to improve.\"