JUNE 15, 2002
Button's old rival moves to IRL
IN karting days and in Formula Ford Jenson Button had to work hard to keep Daniel Wheldon at bay. But while Button's career took him flying into Formula 1, Wheldon got stuck and had to go off to the United States to make a living. He has spent the last couple of years in Formula Atlantic and in Indy Lights and this year has been trying to put together a deal to in CART but the 23-year-old British driver has found it tough as there is no money about.
But it seems that Wheldon's plight is over. Pennzoil Panther Racing has just announced that it is planning to run a second car alongside IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr. in the Indy Racing League next season. The team will start out this year however with a second car at the Chicagoland Speedway in September and in the final race at the Texas Motor Speedway. Wheldon has got the job and if all goes to plan he will become Hornish's full-time team mate next year.
To date most of the British interest in America has been in CART but with Wheldon moving up IRL will come much more into the spotlight in the UK. At the moment there is only one British-born driver in the series: Jeff Ward, the winner of the most recent race, who is (would you believe it?) from Scotland!
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