Meira Makes Show; Puts Panther in Eighth Position for Indy 500 Delphi National Guard Driver Gives Team its Best Indy Starting Position Since 2006 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Delphi National Guard driver Vitor Meira solidified his position in the...
Meira Makes Show; Puts Panther in Eighth Position for Indy 500
Delphi National Guard Driver Gives Team its Best Indy Starting Position Since 2006
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Delphi National Guard driver Vitor Meira solidified his position in the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Saturday afternoon, when the Panther Racing driver posted the eighth best qualification speed for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. With his effort, Meira posted the team's second-best qualification effort at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and gave Panther its best starting position since July of 2007 at Watkins Glen.
Meira made the field with a four-lap average of 224.346 mph, which was composed of laps of 224.405, 224.293, 224.339, and 224.348 mph.
He nearly matched his effort from 2006, when he started on the outside of the second row in sixth position during his first season with Panther, which was a career best for both driver and team. Meira finished 10th that season in what was the last time Panther entered only one car in the Indy 500, which remains the team's intention this year.
The team's No. 4 Delphi National Guard Honda Dallara will start the race from the middle of the third row.
Meira was the first driver outside the IndyCar Series "Big Three" of Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Green Racing to solidify his position in the 200-lap event.
Vitor is looking to expand upon his current streak of four consecutive Top Ten finishes at Indianapolis, the last two of which he earned while driving the No. 4 car. His best career finish at the Speedway came in 2005, when he finished second behind Dan Wheldon. Panther has competed in 10 Indianapolis 500s, with a best finish of fifth with Buddy Lazier in 2005. The team earned its first Top Ten finish at Indy in 2000 with driver Scott Goodyear, who finished ninth in Panther's third trip to IMS.
The IndyCar Series will now have two weeks to finalize race setup for the Indy 500, which will be broadcast live on Sunday, May 25th on ABC, the IMS Radio Network, and simulcast on www.indycar.com.
Vitor Meira, No. 4-T Delphi National Guard:
"It feels like today that all of our work has paid off. This off-season we got to do what we needed to do to catch up with the bigger teams and the results are showing today. We spent time in the wind tunnel and did some seven-post rig testing during the off-season, and all of that work makes a big difference, especially here at Indianapolis. We are also focusing on the one car, and that has helped us because we have all the right people in the right positions now. The addition of (Race Engineer) David Cripps has been a big help, and he's a perfect fit with Brent Harvey, Henri Durand and the rest of our guys. This result is great for Panther and it's great for Delphi and the National Guard, who have made this success possible for all of us.
John Barnes, Panther Racing Co-Owner
"I'm really proud of all our guys for their effort the past week and of Vitor for the way he drove the car all week. We'll feel like the hard work is paying off, but we don't come to Indy to qualify well, we are here to win this race. And that work starts next week. We've got what we call the 'Harbaugh Rule' around here, and that means we can celebrate this for 24 hours, then we start working towards winning the Indianapolis 500."