Rice and Meira take 2nd closest IRL race at Kansas with Panoz G Force Kansas City, July 4th, 2004 Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira provided all the necessary fireworks on Independence Day today, earning the ...
Rice and Meira take 2nd closest IRL race at Kansas with Panoz G Force
Kansas City, July 4th, 2004 Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira provided all the necessary fireworks on Independence Day today, earning the second-closest finish in Indy Racing League IndyCar Series history. 2004 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner Rice, in the #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda crossed the stripe .0051 seconds in front of Meira's #17 Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda in the Argent Mortgage Kansas Indy 300, a 200-lap dash punctuated by only two caution periods.
"I think today proves the Panoz G Force/Honda package is the car to have this year in the IndyCar Series," Rice declared. "The folks down there in Braselton, GA keep progressing and make the car better every round." Team co-owner Bobby Rahal admitted, "We struggled with the Dallara last year; we just couldn't get a handle on it. The Panoz G Force is a more conventional car with more downforce. It's given us a broader base to work with."
Meira, who set the fastest lap of the race (on lap 81) of 210.611mph, was surprised by the 169-lap green flag period (the most consistent green flag running in IRL history) as he "worked to find the quickest line." While Rice hugged the bottom of the track, he and Meira traded the lead throughout the final ten laps as they rushed to be first to the checkered flags. "Those last ten laps felt more like 100," Meira laughed.
Adrian Fernandez earned sixth place in his #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda in his first start on the 1.5-mile banked oval, his fourth consecutive top-seven result on this sunny, 85-degree day. The Mexican who joined the IndyCar Series at Phoenix said he had "a good car all weekend. While I didn't have the car to beat Buddy or Vitor, my Panoz G Force was strong in the race. I made a couple of mistakes; without those, we might have been able to hold onto fourth place," where he was running at the time of the final caution.
The IRL's IndyCar Series takes a one-weekend hiatus before race #8, the final night event of the year at Nashville SuperSpeedway, the Firestone Indy 200. Rice retains third in the point standings with 225, just 50 points out of first place.