Panther Racing Puts All Three Chevrolets in The Show INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Panther Racing put all three of its Chevrolets in the starting grid for the 89th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday during qualifications. Buddy Lazier will start...
Panther Racing Puts All Three Chevrolets in The Show
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Panther Racing put all three of its Chevrolets in the starting grid for the 89th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday during qualifications. Buddy Lazier will start 9th, which marks Panther Racing's second best start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Lazier's teammates Tomas Enge and Tomas Scheckter will join the former Indy 500 winner in the field, where they will start 10th and 11th, respectively.
Panther Racing was the only team to qualify three cars in the Top Eleven.
Lazier, the Byrd Brothers/Panther driver, will lead the trio of drivers when the green flag flies on May 29th. Buddy put together an impressive four-lap average of 226.353 mph, and will start 9th, which is his second best career start at Indianapolis. The only time he had a better qualification effort was in 1996, when he started 5th and won the race. Lazier will start in the outside of row three.
Tomas Enge has made improvements to his speed all week, and posted his quickest laps of the month on Sunday. With a four-lap average of 226.107 mph, Enge will start 10th in the inside of the fourth row. Enge was the second fastest rookie in the field behind Danica Patrick, who is starting fourth. By qualifying Enge has put himself in position to become only the third driver to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and Formula One's United States Grand Prix at IMS. Tomas finished 14th in the USGP with the Prost-Acer team in 2001.
Tomas Scheckter was the fastest driver in the field on Fast Friday, but the change in weather conditions hampered his run at the pole position. Scheckter put together a four-lap average of 226.031 mph, which landed him a spot in the middle of row four, and with a starting position of 11th. Scheckter's career best start at Indianapolis is 10th, which is where he started last year with Panther and in 2002 with Cheever Racing. Tomas finished in 4th in the Indy 500 back in 2003, and had led a total of 148 laps at the Brickyard, which makes him the top lap leader among active drivers and ties him for 33rd on the all-time list.
Lazier also has two second-place finishes on his Indianapolis 500 resume, in 1998 and 2000. He is tied for second on the all-time IndyCar Series win list, and was the 2000 IndyCar Series Champion -- which is the same year Panther Racing and Scott Goodyear finished second in the championship hunt. This will be Lazier's first race since the 2004 Indianapolis 500, where he started 28th and finished 23rd after running as high as 11th in the race. Lazier has led a total of 70 laps at Indianapolis.
There will be no track activity at IMS on Monday or Tuesday, and practice will resume on Wednesday.
Tomas Scheckter - #4 Pennzoil Panther Racing
"I'm a little disappointed at the moment. I think under the right conditions we would have had a good chance at the pole. We've been good the whole week, but sometimes that's how it goes at Indy. On Friday we put up some great lap times on a hot, humid day but you lose some of that when the conditions change so dramatically. Thanks to Chevy, they've continued to work hard. I've never qualified that well at Indianapolis, but I've always been able to get through the field and find the front of the pack. And that's the thing about Panther Racing; no matter what happens today, I know that my Pennzoil Chevy is going to be awesome at the end of the month."
Tomas Enge - #2 RockStar Panther Racing
"That was a very good run and I'm happy. Everything went fine with no problems and I'm happy that my first qualification run at Indy is behind me. Now we can start looking forward to later in the week and our race setup. The car was really good, and our Chevy was very strong. There are a lot of people back in the Czech Republic that are watching, and they're very excited about experiencing the greatest race in the world. It took me four days to get completely comfortable with this track and all four corners, but (spotter) Tom Sneva and everybody with the Panther team is doing a great job helping me out."
Buddy Lazier - #95 Byrd Brothers/Panther Racing
"That's a fast racecar. I'm happy with my run, the wind caught me in turn two on my second lap, but I'm happy with how everything has gone. This Byrd Brothers/Panther combo is just a great team, and the entire engineering staff is one of the best I've ever been around. I think in the right conditions today we could have had a chance for the front row. I can't emphasize enough that we've got a rocket ship racecar. This Chevy is one of the fastest racecars I've had during the month of May, and I have two very talented teammates. You don't have to look very far in motorsports to realize that it's the multiple-car teams that have the advantage, and it's helped make Panther this powerful."