IRL: Indy 500: Panther Racing Third-Day Qualifying report

John Andretti Qualifies 24th for 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500 Andretti Overcomes Loss of Grandfather and Returns to Race for First Time Since 1994 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- (May 19, 2007) - Camping World Panther Racing driver John Andretti...

John Andretti Qualifies 24th for 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500
Andretti Overcomes Loss of Grandfather and Returns to Race for First Time Since 1994

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- (May 19, 2007) - Camping World Panther Racing driver John Andretti officially made his return to the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday when he qualified in 24th position for the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500. Andretti, who learned early in the morning that his grandfather had passed away, will now look to make his first start in the Indianapolis 500 since 1994.

His four-lap average was 221.756 mph.

Andretti continues to make his name as one of the world's most versatile drivers. He is the winner of an Indy-car race (Australia) and two NASCAR Winston Cup races, including a win at Daytona International Speedway, during his career. In addition, the cousin of Michael Andretti has driven dragsters, sports cars and, if you ask the 44-year-old, "anything with four wheels."

He was also the first driver in history to complete "The Double", competing in both the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the same day in 1994 -- his last run in the '500'.

This will be the third time that Panther Racing has entered three cars in the Indy 500, the last coming in 2005 when Buddy Lazier finished fifth -- the team's best career effort at the Speedway -- and Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge were both taken out by then-rookie Danica Patrick. The only other time the team has run three cars at the 2.5-mile oval was in 2003 with Sam Hornish, Jr., Billy Boat and Robby McGehee.

Delphi Panther driver Vitor Meira will start 19th and Super Aguri Panasonic driver Kosuke Matsuura will roll off 17th next Sunday in the Indianapolis 500. The Panther trio has just two more opportunities to work on their racecars -- tomorrow during Bump Day and the practice session during next Friday's Carb Day festivities.

Panther Racing will compete in the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27th, a race that will be broadcast live in HD on ABC, starting at noon (EST). Additional coverage will be provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio channels 144 and 145.

John Andretti:

"I was a little jittery this morning, but you always know at Indy that a lot can happen in four laps. The car was really fantastic and that's just a credit to Camping World and Panther Racing for putting this car together for me. We could have gone a little bit faster, and trimmed the car out a little more, but I was steady and wide open all around the track. Now I'm going to try to understand what it's like running in traffic and how the car handles. The Panther team deserves all the credit for this one, they've treated me like family since the moment I got here, and people that know me well know that's how I want things. I also can't thank Vitor (Meira) enough for helping with the setup, we haven't changed too much since he got out of the car and that's what being a good teammate is all about."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers John Andretti , Tomas Enge , Robby McGehee , Buddy Lazier , Billy Boat , Michael Andretti , Kosuke Matsuura , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing