IRL: Chicagoland: Panoz race report

Patrick leads Team Panoz in sixth at Chicagoland JOLIET, IL - Danica Patrick was the highest finishing member of the Panoz family in the Indy Racing League's Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean. Leading a lap on the 1.5-mile ...

Patrick leads Team Panoz in sixth at Chicagoland

JOLIET, IL - Danica Patrick was the highest finishing member of the Panoz family in the Indy Racing League's Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean.

Leading a lap on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway banked oval and mixing it up with the lead pack all afternoon, the rookie overcame early oversteering difficulties and "was in position to go for the win" as the 200-lap contest wound down. Penalized for jumping the start after the final of four cautions, Patrick had to settle for sixth in her #16 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone Indy car.

"I was trying to run in a comfortable spot for the car and a lot of times other guys were trying to run in the same position on the track. A lot of stuff happens out there during a race," she's discovered, "and it can be chaotic at times. I was just happy to get through those occurrences."

Teammate Vitor Meira, who started 20th after an engine change yesterday afternoon relegated him to the back of the field, brought his #17 Menards/Johns Manville Panoz/Honda to the stripes in seventh place.

Having to change his front wing after contact during morning warmup, Meira and his team worked the car to a competitive nature and "at the end I just gassed it on the outside when I heard 'green' from the team. The timing was just right and I think I passed five or six cars. Everything was okay after our final pit stop," Meira said.

Scott Sharp's eighth place result in the #8 Delphi/Fernandez Panoz/Honda came after a "tough day. We've struggled in turbulent air and this place is all about that. There were a lot of times when our Panoz was really good and I charged into the top five but unfortunately we couldn't battle harder today," he said.

The race had one turbulent accident that involved the #33 Target/Pioneer Panoz/Toyota of Ryan Briscoe. He crashed in the third turn and rode the SAFER barrier, catching fire. Briscoe emerged in stable condition and was taken to hospital with knee bruises, as well as having his bell rung, but the made-in-America Panoz chassis stopped him from further injury, as it came out of the maelstrom complete.

The Indy cars have this weekend to complete the changeover to road course configuration and reconvene for the penultimate race in the 17-event campaign, in the Finger Lakes district of New York. The Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage takes place on September 25th and will be televised by ABC Sports.

-emt-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Ryan Briscoe , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira