Leader Of The Pack

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Dan Wheldon is the hottest driver in the IndyCar Series, but if past records are any indication, the Indianapolis 500 might be a struggle for the series points leader and his Andretti Green Racing team.

The IndyCar Series points leader has finished in the top 10 at Indianapolis only twice in the nine-race history of the Indy Racing League. Wheldon is one of the two points leaders to place in the top-10, finishing third last season. Still, the average finishing position for the points leader entering the race is 17th.

The IndyCar Series points leader entering Indianapolis has gone on to win the series championship four times in the past nine seasons. Also, 26 -- the number on the Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone driven by Wheldon -- has never won the 500-Mile Race.

"To do it takes a lot of hard work and everything to go right during the month," Wheldon said. "If it's meant to be then it will happen. I don't think you can ever force this race, and we just have to keep doing the things we've been doing."

The previous points leaders and their finish at the Indianapolis 500: 1996 Buzz Calkins (17th). 1997 Mike Groff (12th). 1998 Tony Stewart (33rd). 1999 Scott Goodyear (27th). 2000 Buddy Lazier (2nd). 2001 Sam Hornish Jr. (14th). 2002 Sam Hornish Jr. (25th). 2003 Scott Sharp (20th). 2004 Dan Wheldon (3rd).

Don’t count them out
Don’t count out a driver who is coming into the Indianapolis 500 off a poor finish in the previous event. Three of the previous nine Indianapolis 500 winners in the history of the Indy Racing League finished 20th or worse in their last race before Indianapolis, while another three did not race in the event before the 500.

On Newsstands
Marlboro Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves is featured in the June issue of FHM, which went on sale on newsstands May 10. The full-page article -- "MASTER INDY!" -- is subtitled, "How to win, should you ever graduate from the carpool lane," and features quotes from Castroneves.

Castroneves, who celebrated his 30th birthday May 10, also is featured in the May issue of Gold Coast Magazine, in a cover story entitled “Dukes of Broward” that discusses the growing popularity of motorsports in south Florida.

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan is featured in the June issue of Outside magazine as he was triathlon training.

No. 4 Car Turns Platinum for Month
In conjunction with the release of Pennzoil’s new Platinum Full Synthetic motor oil, Panther Racing has given its No. 4 car a makeover for the month. The Chevrolet-powered Dallara is sporting a platinum paint scheme.

“Our association with Pennzoil is one of the longest standing partnerships in the IndyCar Series,” Panther co-owner John Barnes said. “We’re thrilled to display such a beautiful Pennzoil Platinum race car for the Indianapolis 500. We all know the new paint scheme will make our Chevy look great in the field, but it’s having Platinum Protection inside our three race cars that’s going to help this team the most.”

Of Note
IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi will be guest co-host on "Wind Tunnel" May 15 on SpeedChannel. Check local listings. ... SWE Race Car Parts will sponsor the Pole Award for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, beginning with the Futaba Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27. SWE Race Car Parts will award the fastest qualifier a check for $1,000 and a trophy at each of the remaining 11 events this season.

Race Center

Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
TV Start:
NBCSN

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