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IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 200

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Firestone Indy 200

IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 200

Dan Wheldon
July 15, 2006


THE MODERATOR: At this time we're joined bay our second place finisher, Dan Wheldon. It's his third second place finish this season. Dan led the most laps tonight with 115.
Dan, tell us about your evening.
DAN WHELDON: I think it's a fantastic evening for Target Chip Ganassi Racing and everybody involved. You know, I know Scott has had a very frustrating weekend, so it's a good for him. Some of the last couple races have been frustrating for him so it's good to see him back on top.
I think certainly the 10 side, we had a very fast car but just came up a little bit short. But I think it was a very entertaining race for everybody. This is the home of Firestone. The tires work very well at this track. I think the fans enjoyed what I would say -- it's not one of those tracks where you can run side by side, but I think it was a very intense race. Certainly you could see that at the end.
Happy for the team, happy for Honda. We've closed the gap somewhat on Marlboro Team Penske. I was a little disappointed to see Sam go out. We've had a couple of one-on-ones just recently, and he's got me. I was hoping that I might be able to try and get one back on him.
Nonetheless, it was a good result for us.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dan.

Q. Those last couple laps, you were right on Scott's gearbox. Do you think you had a better car and couldn't get around him or did he have a little bit more for you?
DAN WHELDON: No, I definitely had a faster car. You know, Vitor drove me down onto the apron and I lost a lot of ground there. When I got near Scott, I had to kind of rush to try to get by him. I think that somewhat cost me.
You know, it's good for the team. I think I led the most laps so you pick up three points for that. I think all in all, a good weekend.

Q. It seemed in turn two a couple times when you got up behind somebody, be it Vitor or Scott, your car kind of washed up a bit. Were you having trouble? Every other turn you were coming out fast. Did you have a little trouble in two?
DAN WHELDON: Yeah, I think typically with this track and what makes this an enjoyable track is the fact that it's concrete. It's very difficult. If you're an inch or two up and may have the outside of the tires in the gray, just to be able to stay flat. That's what was happening to me sometimes.
I just couldn't quite get him. Like I say, I lost a lot of time behind Vitor so was somewhat rushing to get by him. I think that cost me. I think Andy Brown and all the engineering staff at the team did give me a fantastic car. The last few races, we've been very strong. We're looking forward to the next couple.

Q. At the end of the race, you seemed to have some questions for the crew and the strategy. Could you elaborate a little on that.
DAN WHELDON: Yeah, no, I was just a little confused. I knew Scott had come in earlier than me. They gave me a fuel number that I needed. I couldn't get it, even in a pretty low fuel position. It was a case of I wasn't sure if they wanted me to let everybody go and get that number or stay in front of the people that I was in front of and try and still get the number.
It was just confusion, to tell you the truth.

Q. Going into the race, you said this was kind of a must-win situation for you. You didn't win. As you said, you closed the gap. Do you feel better about your chances of defending the championship than you did before?
DAN WHELDON: I mean, any time you close the gap, that's good. Any time you make significant points on Sam, it's a good thing, because he doesn't normally give them away.
Like I said, I definitely wanted to race him in particular because he's somebody that's obviously very good. He's tough to beat. I don't know. I think his car was just a little (indiscernible) because he found it difficult to run behind cars and must have just got up in the gray. I think any time you gain points is a good thing. I think Scott's only five out of the lead of the championship right now.
THE MODERATOR: Dan, thank you very much. We'll see you in Milwaukee next week.
DAN WHELDON: Thank you.

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