Chat with Dan Wheldon
Send in your questions now and join Dan in The Show on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Dan Wheldon (5:30 PM)
I'm here and very proud to have won this race. It means an awful lot to me. Before going into it, it was amazing how competitive the field was. It was an amazing race, very close and competitive. I'm ready for your questions!
Bill R Champaign Illinois
In the closing laps, did you know for sure that you could reclaim the lead, or did you have some doubts ?
Dan Wheldon (5:32 PM)
The thing about being a leader in the Indy 500 is if you were leading, it was difficult for other cars to stary real close. With the control of the race you have as leader, I was able to maintain it. But my car was performing the best late in the race. It's never something you are totally confident in, but you have a pretty good idea. I was pretty confident overall.
Mike, Pensacola, Florida
Dan, what changes did your team make to the car to make it so quick at the end of the race?
Dan Wheldon (5:33 PM)
The car leading into the month was very quick. On Sunday we lost some overall speed and we didn't know why. But during the race our raw speed was just great. The changes we made late were a front wing adjustment and some tire pressure adjustments. It brought the balance of the car back to a more neutral level. I could do that because I wasn't in too much traffic.
Bill Champaign Illinois
How did you and Michael Andretti celebrate after that amazing win ?
Dan Wheldon (5:33 PM)
We went to Gillians. Jim Beam had a party. After that we went to Castronevasas' house. That was about it.
Sharon (Wayne NJ
Now that you have won the "500", what is your next dream?
Dan Wheldon (5:34 PM)
I was very vocal in that winning Indy was my goal over the championship but I woudl love to do the double on one year. I'm not underestimating the competition, but I would love to try and do that.
Jason (Broomfield, Colorado)
Congratulations on your win. DO you feel somewhat overshadowed by the media attenion Danica has gotten after the race? TO follow that, do you think its benefiting the IRL?
Dan Wheldon (5:35 PM)
I don't feel overshadowed at all. I don't care who gets the attention because I can't control that. In fairness to her, some people thought she was getting more attention that she deserved but she silenced those people with her performance.
William (Louisville, KY)
If you are invited to compete in the 2006 IROC series, will you accept?
Dan Wheldon (5:36 PM)
I'm not able to do that. It's sponsored by a rival sponsor so I would love to do it, but I can't unless something changes.
i noticed you had a blue braclet on i wanted to know if that is a 'believe' braclet for the chicago cubs?
Dan Wheldon (5:37 PM)
Actually there is a young girl that comes to watch the races. Her name is Sarah. She is not confined to a wheelechair to but she does have trouble getting around. I thought it would be nice to wear it for her. She gave it to Tony Kaanan to give to me. It brought me luck!
Ryan (St Louis)
Who was the hardest car to pass as you made your way to the front of the field?
Dan Wheldon (5:38 PM)
You know what, it depended on what point of the race. My teammate Brian was actually the hardest!
Sean Y. (West Lafayette)
What kind of conditioning do you do to be in good physical shape to race cars? Also, I was like the one sober person who saw you win and I just wanted to say good race.
Dan Wheldon (5:39 PM)
It just depends on what point of the season we are in. I lift more in the offseason and have that as my focus. In season, I'm on the road so much that I concentrate on cardio. But I'm alway doing things to help my back because that is always a concern.
Dan Wheldon (5:40 PM)
I always make sure to get enough sleep and drink enough water. That's really important.
Steve Sgroi: (Jacksonville, Fl.)
What was the response from your homeland on your victory in the Indy 500? Does anyone in England even care about the race anymore?
Dan Wheldon (5:41 PM)
Absolutey they care! It doesn't matter what country you are in. The Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world. Everyone has been very happy. The first Englishman in 39 years I believe! It's big news over there.
Jim Otis, Fargo ND
Dan, Do youfeel that this years race brought back the greatness of the Indy 500? With an Andretti back in victory lane, Danica, and the amazing show that you guys put on.
Dan Wheldon (5:42 PM)
I think so. The Indy 500 this year was probably be the best race you will have seen in some time. I think it might be one of the best of all time. 27 lead changes!
Jim Terre Haute, IN.
What's the best pick-up line a 500 winner can use with the ladies?
Dan Wheldon (5:43 PM)
You know what, it certainly makes me more attractive! As champion of the Indy 500, you have to respect the tradition and how you use your title. But it won't hurt! I won't lie!
Ryan (St Louis)
Did you enjoy the autograph session on the day before the race? How many tracks do that?
Dan Wheldon (5:44 PM)
I have my own opinion on this. When you have people paying good money for tickets, if your time is too tied up to sign autographs for an hour, you have issues. If we want to grow, we need to do these things. But I'm very social and like meeting people. It was a privelage.
Anna - Ohio
Hey Dan, It's Anna from Honda. Congrats on your big victory!
Dan Wheldon (5:47 PM)
Anna! Hello! It's such a shame you are married! I'm glad you dumped Mario for me that day to chaperone you around! It was great fun.
Ryan (St Louis)
Congrats Dan! That was an awesome run on sunday. Whats the first thing Michael Andretti said to you following the race?
Dan Wheldon (5:48 PM)
I think it was "You did it!". It was the most emotional I have ever been, or probably will ever be! Michael was just the same. I've never seen the guy so happy.
First of all congrats on your victory! How does winning the Indy 500 change you as a driver? Do you think Danica is the real deal? Thanks
Dan Wheldon (5:49 PM)
I don't think it will change me. It won't change me personally either. I'm looking forward to being introduced as "Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon". It's the most fun race in the world. I just feel a great sense of accomplishment. It's something great to tell my kids someday.
Seth (Tenafly, NJ)
Dan, what has been the best part of being the Indy 500 champion?
Dan Wheldon (5:50 PM)
Drinking the milk! That's the biggest thing for me. It still hasn't sunk in completely yet. But that helped drive it home. Only the champion can drink! It was a nice feeling.
Jeff Gresham OR
So Dan when you going to Formula One?
Dan Wheldon (5:51 PM)
To be honest, I want to win a championship now. I don't think you will see me leave.
Ken (Richmond, VA)
Dan, you've raced with Jenson Button in Europe. Who else did you race with over there that's gone on to make it big?
Dan Wheldon (5:53 PM)
That's a good question. I don't really know. The difference with me is I came over at an early part in my career. If you compare that to Dario, he came over after a couple seasons in international touring cars. It's very difficult to get an idea. There are a couple English drivers in the USF 2000 series but I'm not sure how serious they are pursuing things in the U.S.
Dan Wheldon (5:54 PM)
I would like to see some more English drivers come out at an early stage and commit to doing this. I think America right now is very very competitive. It's fun to race over here.
Cayne (Federal Way, WA)
Dan, congratulations on your big victory. Very well done! If your were commissioner of your sport for a day, what's on your priority list?
Dan Wheldon (5:56 PM)
I think cost containment would be the big thing for me. The more competitive things get, the more expensive it gets. I think the IRL does a very good job of trying to control it. I'd like to come up with something to help it more. If I'm allowed another thing, I would work on really using the ladder system to help bring drivers up.
Jen, Karen & Mary - CA
Congrats! You are so cool! Lots of love!
Dan Wheldon (5:57 PM)
Thank you! Anything I can do to help make fans happy, I'm all for it! It makes me feel good. Thanks for being a fan.
Dan, Congrats on the win! What's your other favorite sport and who do you support in that sport? Thanks.
Dan Wheldon (5:57 PM)
I like all motorsports. But I like English soccer. Premier League. I also like the NFL and NBA.
Jim S. Terre Haute, IN
Congratulations... You're victory reminded me a lot of Rick Mears. We didn't hear much from you early in the race. Was that a conscious strategy or was it a result of "dialing in" your car?
Dan Wheldon (5:59 PM)
It was two things. The competition was one! The depth of talent was very deep. But also, my car wasn't quite to my liking at the start. We were gradually improving as we went. It was at its best late. I wanted to get the front earlier but I just couldn't. I could pass, but when you are racing against people that don't make mistakes, it's pretty tough!
Tony (Phx, AZ)
How did that milk taste???
Dan Wheldon (6:00 PM)
It was the best tasting milk I have ever had in my life! I was a very proud man drinking that milk!
Do you have any sort of revenge planned for your teammates after the pie in the face at the awards banquet last night?
Dan Wheldon (6:01 PM)
No. As the baby on the team, I get that stuff a lot. They wouldn't do it if they didn't love me, right?
Jeff (Green Bay)
Dan, congrats on the win! What do you think of the move to introduce road courses into the IRL? Do you prefer a mix of venues/styles?
Dan Wheldon (6:02 PM)
Obviously it opens up the following for some of the fans. Some people don't enjoy open wheel as much as others. But from a fan standpoint it's a good thing having a mix. I like road coarses. The cars are fun to drive. Very difficult though. It would be good for the series to mix it up a bit.
Dan Wheldon (6:05 PM)
Thanks for the questions! To everyone who has helped me get to where I am now, I really appreciate it. The fans MAKE this sport so I will do everything I can to make you all happy. I hope to see you all at the rest of the races! Take care!
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