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IndyCar Series: Indy Japan 300

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indy Japan 300

IndyCar Series: Indy Japan 300

Dan Wheldon
April 22, 2006


We're now joined by our second place finisher, Dan Wheldon. Dan won at Homestead earlier this year, 16th in our last race at St. Petersburg, and obviously today's second place finish after two straight years of a first place finish, Dan, tell us about your day.
DAN WHELDON: It was kind of up and down really. I was obviously very determined to try and win my third race for Honda at Motegi. I'm very happy that Honda won, but I think they had that coming into the race.
I think Helio had a lot of speed. There were points during the race where I felt I was as quick if not maybe a touch quicker, but just not quite as consistent. I think, again, the event that Honda have at this facility is absolutely fantastic and they should be credited because there were a lot of fans there.
I think it was a pretty exciting race, although the leader ran off to it with some extent. There was a lot of jostling for position, just back further slightly.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dan.
Q. At the end, did you have any problem not being able to catch up with Helio? Did you have handling problems or was it the track conditions changing?
DAN WHELDON: No, the first part of that run, I think before the yellow, I was very competitive. I managed to pass Tony and Dario and close right up on Scott and Helio. But that last stint, I just was a little bit too loose to be able to run the times Helio was doing.
Obviously, with a situation behind me where it was pretty clear, I just brought the car home second rather than try and be a hero and put it in the fence.
Q. In the middle of the race, you were getting very close on Helio at one point. Maybe fans and everybody were expecting your third consecutive win here. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out. Really, the fans enjoyed the race here today. How do you look forward for the Indy next race, another race for you to defend?
DAN WHELDON: I'm glad he's awake. Often when he interviews me, he falls asleep (laughter). Must have been an exciting race.
No, there was definitely times, like I say, that I felt I was certainly as quick as Helio if not quicker. At the beginning when he got in traffic, I was able to actually get by him and create a little bit of a gap. But my pace just wasn't consistent, and that's what cost me.
Indianapolis, I think we'll be very strong. It's a great race for me. With Andretti Green Racing last year, I was able to win it. I'd love to be able to win it again for Chip Ganassi. We'll just keep working hard. Helio's got a little bit of momentum, kind of the same momentum I had in 2005. But he certainly can be stopped and we'll do our best to stop it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Dan.

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