IRL: Chicagoland: Panther Racing Saturday report

Bell Top Chevy, Scheckter Makes Engine Change JOLIET, Ill. -- Panther Racing driver Townsend Bell will start the Delphi Indy 300 from 12th, as the top Chevrolet qualifier in the field. Teammate Tomas Scheckter will attempt another trademark...

Bell Top Chevy, Scheckter Makes Engine Change

JOLIET, Ill. -- Panther Racing driver Townsend Bell will start the Delphi Indy 300 from 12th, as the top Chevrolet qualifier in the field. Teammate Tomas Scheckter will attempt another trademark storm to the front after an engine change this afternoon. Scheckter was third quick in the morning practice session yesterday, but the Pennzoil Panther team detected a problem during the morning session today and decided to make the change. They will participate in the final practice session later this afternoon.

Bell turned a quick lap of 212.083 mph, 25.8012 seconds. He will start on the outside of Row Six next to Darren Manning. This is Townsend's eighth start in the Indy Racing League, and he has recorded a total of three Top Ten finishes, which includes a season-high fifth at Nashville. Scheckter's best finish came at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he finished fifth. He will start Sunday in 22nd.

Tomas Scheckter:

"During the morning practice today, we found a little problem in the engine. Rather than damage it, we wanted to play it safe and decided to change it out. That way we can run the race motor in the last practice session this afternoon, and we can be a lot stronger tomorrow. The Pennzoil Panther car will be great tomorrow and we'll work our way to the front again."

Townsend Bell:

"We had a pretty good run. We really haven't changed the car much since we started. I can feel that bump on the backstretch, but it really hasn't caused us too many problems. As far as running in traffic, we are going to have a great racecar. That's all these Panther guys do is put together great cars and we'll be strong tomorrow in the race. We're looking forward to a big day."

Panther Tracks: This weekend both Pennzoil Panther and Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolets are displaying a decal honoring Indianapolis Police Department Officer "Jake" Laird, who was killed in the line of duty last month in Indianapolis. The decal is a replica of Laird's badge, and is being sold as a sticker to raise money for the Kaylee Laird Trust Fund. Kaylee is the seven-year-old daughter of Officer Laird, and all proceeds from the sales go to the trust fund. Panther co-owner Mike Griffin and PR rep Mike Kitchel are selling the $5 stickers this weekend at Chicagoland .... Townsend was Indy Lights Rookie of the Year in 2000, and the series champion in 2001 ... Panther Racing has been involved in six of the Top Ten closest finishes in IRL history -- winning five ... Since joining the league in 1998, Panther has 33 podium finishes, 43 Top Fives and 55 Top Tens .... The team's 2,457 laps led is second only to Team Menard .... Panther Racing won back-to-back IRL Championships in 2001 & 2002, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Championship in 2003, and is the league leader in victories for both series: IRL (14 wins) and IPS (7 wins) ... A total of nine drivers have started a race for Panther: Sam Hornish Jr. (44), Scott Goodyear (30), Tomas Scheckter (13), Townsend Bell (7), Mark Taylor (6), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Darren Manning , Robby McGehee , Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear , Townsend Bell , Dan Wheldon , Dave Steele , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing