IRL: Chicagoland: Panther Racing race report

Meira Battles For Sixth at Kentucky Brazilian Ends Successful Season With Panther Racing JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 9, 2006) -- A long battle Sunday at Kentucky Speedway left Lincoln Tech Panther driver Vitor Meira with a sixth place finish in the...

Meira Battles For Sixth at Kentucky
Brazilian Ends Successful Season With Panther Racing

JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 9, 2006) -- A long battle Sunday at Kentucky Speedway left Lincoln Tech Panther driver Vitor Meira with a sixth place finish in the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300. In what was a comeback season for Panther Racing, Meira climbed from the back of the field to the front again for another Top Ten result.

After starting sixth, Meira was hampered by contact with Tomas Scheckter entering Turn One, but the Lincoln Tech No. 4 car came away undamaged. Shortly after, Meira pitted on Lap 14 under yellow, but had to return to the Panther pit box two laps later to complete a front wing adjustment. The second stop put the team at the back of the line during the restart and Vitor began his long climb back to the top.

Despite running in 13th-14th position for a bulk of the first half of the event, Meira reached the Top Ten by Lap 120. He climbed to the seventh position before the team's final stop on Lap 150. In the final 50 laps of the race, Vitor battled with Scott Sharp, Tony Kanaan, Jeff Simmons and Ed Carpenter for the fifth position. By the race's conclusion, Meira had put three of those four drivers in his rear-view mirror.

With this result, Panther Racing claimed fifth place in the IndyCar Series Championship battle, their best finish since Sam Hornish Jr. finish fifth in 2003. Vitor had 12 Top Ten finishes -- his personal best -- in 14 starts this season, a run that included seven Top Five and six podium results.

The team watched as former drivers won the race (Dan Wheldon) and the championship (Hornish).

Vitor Meira Quote:
"We definitely had a great season together here at Panther Racing. I have to thank the team owners, first of all, for making the decision to return to the IndyCar Series this year. It was that decision that made this great year possible for us. I'm looking forward to coming back next season and doing this again and making a run at the championship. We've got such an great team, a great family, at Panther. (On the race) It was a long day. We had to fight back from the back and that was tough. We made the most of it today, and that's what counts. We're going to be back next year and be even stronger."

-credit: panther racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing