With his gloves already on and his helmet sitting on the red side pod, Dan Wheldon cracked one more joke before putting on the head gear.
"There's should be a sign on here that says 'Unemployed'," joked the longtime Izod IndyCar Series driver in front of photographers and members of the various levels of the open wheel series.
Wheldon's statement is true, in fact. Since winning the 2011 Indianapolis 500 in thrilling fashion in May, the driver has yet to step into a IndyCar machine on a race day.
But its not like the native of England isn't keeping himself busy-in fact its been the exact opposite.
"This is something to promote the ladder system which the IndyCar Series is really getting behind," said Wheldon of his work Tuesday at the Speedway, in which he drove a car from each of the feeder programs. "Not just from a media perspective but I think financially now they're pouring a lot of money into helping the champions of each different series."
Wheldon got the chance to roll around the Speedway in machines used in USF2000, Star Mazda, Firestone Indy Lights and the IZOD IndyCar Series.
While this was mostly for show, Wheldon has had an important duty with the latter for the past two months since he is the test driver for the new 2012 car to be used in open wheel's top series.
"What I really, really enjoy is the fact that everybody is enthused about it," said Wheldon of the new car. "Everything in this car is new, there's nothing that's been carried over and that's exciting for me."
Testing is not new to Wheldon, who also participated in the original tryouts with the Honda engines back in 2002. Already he's experimented with the car on the Mid-Ohio and Indianapolis Motor Speedway tracks and applauds the coooperations between various developers of the car for
"All these people are working together but there's a great energy about this and I think the teams, the drivers, and most importantly the fnas are really going to enjoy it," said Wheldon of the new car.
Of course the two-time Indy 500 champion hopes to be back in a seat of his own when the car comes into the series next year. While he didn't comment on any future possibilities, Wheldon did express his enjoyment to continue to jump in the car, even if only for testing or promotional purposes.
"The biggest problem they have is trying to get me out of the car," said Wheldon of the new car tests. "Being that I'm not allowed to race, I don't want to get out."