Wheldon Returning With Panther
October 29, 2009 | 10:24 A.M. EST
Wheldon, the 2005 IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion, finished 10th in the final point standings, with a second-place finish in the Indianapolis 500 in May as his best result in 2009.
"I'm excited for next season, honestly," Wheldon said in a story posted on the team's website www.pantherracing.com. "Anytime I'm out of a racecar for too long I get restless. But I feel like we made some progress towards the end of the season after some struggles that show we're heading in the right direction."
Wheldon led just eight laps last season - his fewest since 2003 and never finished better than eighth over the final half of the season. But despite what some consider a poor season, team officials remain positive about their team.
"What I can tell you is that we're going to be fighting tooth and nail to improve," team owner John Barnes said. "We've got a group here that we really like, and I've made clear in the last two weeks what my expectations are for our team and driver."
Wheldon's return to Panther in 2009 concluded with the former Indy 500 winner earning three top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
"My goals are to win races," Wheldon said when asked of his expectations for next year. "Obviously we haven't achieved everything we wanted for the season, so for next year I'd like to build on the momentum that we've created this year and make it a winning season."