SI: We appreciate your doing the Q&A.
Wheldon: What, you couldn't get Danica?
SI: So how many more issues would we have sold if we had put you on the cover instead of Danica Patrick?
Wheldon: I can't give you an exact number. But let me tell you, your female readers would have increased absolutely to no end. It was your loss, not mine. You would have increased your circulation because I am seriously hot.
SI: How did you react when you saw her on the cover?
Wheldon: I wasn't really surprised. I would put her on the cover too. It's good for the sport.
SI: So the attention she's received doesn't bother you?
Wheldon: It's great. She brought media out to the track that wouldn't have been there otherwise, and the 33 drivers put on a good show that will draw them back. What I respect most about Danica is that when she qualified, she was disappointed. Not many people are like that.
SI: You have more than 200 pairs of shoes. Do you think that's more than David Beckham has?
Wheldon: David Beckham has a deal with Adidas. I'm with Puma, and they're a lot more generous, so I think I have more. Plus, I'm bigger than Beckham now.
SI: How would Drive It Like Wheldon do at the box office?
Wheldon: If you put me with Paris Hilton and Angelina Jolie, and add maybe Jamie Foxx between us, we could have a big movie. We might rival Titanic.
SI: You've been all over the place since your big win. What's the coolest thing you've done as the Indy 500 champ?
Wheldon: The coolest thing was rubbing it in [Patrick's car owner] David Letterman's face that I beat his golden girl. No doubt about that. --Richard Deitsch