Panther Drivers Meira, Matsuura Forced to Wait for Indianapolis Qualification Matsuura Gets Bumped, Meira Waves Off in Team's First Attempt at Indy 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- (May 12, 2007) - A beautiful day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway...
Panther Drivers Meira, Matsuura Forced to Wait for Indianapolis Qualification
Matsuura Gets Bumped, Meira Waves Off in Team's First Attempt at Indy 500
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- (May 12, 2007) - A beautiful day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway concluded on Saturday without Panther Racing drivers Vitor Meira or Kosuke Matsuura qualifying for the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500. The Panther team will now focus on tomorrow's qualification effort, where positions 11-22 in the Indy 500 field will be decided.
Matsuura, who was the quickest of the two drivers, completed his initial qualification run but was bumped out of the 11 available spots shortly thereafter. His second attempt never came because the Japanese driver and his Super Aguri Panther team ran out of time.
Meira was two laps into his first qualification attempt, but team owner John Barnes elected to wave off after Meira's qualification laps were much slower that times he previously ran in practice. Meira turned several practice laps later in the day, but the team elected to wait until Sunday to make another qualification attempt.
Matsuura had a four-lap average 221.866 mph, and by the end of the day the team would have had to reach the average time of Michael Andretti -- the eleventh and final qualifier -- who had an average speed of 222.789 mph. After several practice laps, Kosuke pulled his No. 55 Panasonic Honda into the qualification line for a second attempt, but time ran out.
Meira turned laps of 221.051 mph and 220.807 mph prior to the wave-off.
"All I can say is that we're giving our best effort. We tried a couple different things but weren't really sure why the speed wasn't there. It is nothing we can't fix by tomorrow. The Delphi Panther team will be back tomorrow to make sure we get into the show. I'll tell you one thing -- I would rather be disappointed today than on May 27th, because that's why we're here."
"We couldn't get a good speed when I first qualified today so we tried to improve the situation during the practice time by changing the wings and making some changes. After we finished setting the car we got into the qualifying line but the time ran out. I wanted to qualify today so it is disappointing but the team did a great job improving the car from the first session and hopefully we could qualify tomorrow."