Motorcyling: Wheldon is left feeling flat

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The Independent Online

For most of the 90th Indianapolis 500, it appeared that Dan Wheldon would breeze to his second straight win in America's greatest race. Instead, the English driver left with bitter disappointment, finishing fourth in a race where he led for 148 of the 200 laps.

After winning the race for the first time in 2005, he got to watch America's Sam Hornish Jnr, celebrate an Indy 500 win for the first time. Wheldon, from Emberton, had a chance to become the sixth driver in history to win back-to-back Indy 500 titles.

He was firmly in contention going into the closing laps but could not keep up with the Andrettis Marco and Michael, or Hornish, when it mattered most.

"Well, you know, it's the Indianapolis 500, and I guess it's what makes the race so exciting," Wheldon said. "We seemed to dominate, and I think Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Honda did a fantastic job."

Wheldon took the lead for the first time on the ninth lap and was in front at the 100, 200, 300 and 400-mile marks. The only thing missing was the milestone that mattered the most, to be in the lead at the 500-mile mark, but Wheldon was well out of contention by then.

The last time he was in front was on Lap 183 when his former team-mate at Andretti Green Racing, Tony Kanaan, took the lead. "It's disappointing we got a puncture and had to pit off-sequence," Wheldon said. "It's just tough. I had a very good car. It's very good in traffic. It was good all day long, but we didn't win."

Scotland's Dario Franchitti finished seventh to give Andretti Green Racing four drivers in the top seven.