IRL: Kentucky: Panther Racing race report

Meira Overcomes Morning Crash; Finishes Sixth at Kentucky Brazilian Holds On to Fifth in IndyCar Series Standings SPARTA, Ken. (Aug. 13, 2006) -- In what was his toughest and most hard fought race of the season, Lincoln Tech Panther driver Vitor...

Meira Overcomes Morning Crash; Finishes Sixth at Kentucky
Brazilian Holds On to Fifth in IndyCar Series Standings

SPARTA, Ken. (Aug. 13, 2006) -- In what was his toughest and most hard fought race of the season, Lincoln Tech Panther driver Vitor Meira overcame a crash in the morning practice to finish sixth in the Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

After contact in the morning session with Danica Patrick, the Panther Pack had to make moderate repairs to the No. 4 Lincoln Tech Honda. The team was able to repair the car completely without switching to a back-up, and once the race began Meira slipped slowly from his starting position of ninth. Once he fell as low as 13th on the grid, the Pack and its driver made their climb back to the Top Five.

The team improved the car during its first stop and the No. 4 car returned to its home in the Top Five by Lap 60, and after a fuel-only stop 31 laps later, Vitor was back in the lead of the field. The 29-year-old Brazilian was unable to hold the lead for longer than five laps, but he still was able to keep his car in contention.

The remainder of the race featured a spirited battle between positions five through ten. Meira traded spots with Dario Franchitti, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and an aggressive Tomas Scheckter multiple times before the event's final pit stop. Quick service in the No. 4 pit left Vitor ahead of the crowd, and after a late restart he was able to hold off his competitors for another Top Ten finish.

Meira has now collected 10 Top Ten finishes this season in 12 starts, which includes six Top Five finishes and five podiums. The team remains in fifth place in the IndyCar Series points standings.

The IndyCar Series will have next weekend off before traveling to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The race will be held on Sunday, August 27, with live coverage provided by ABC at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio Channel 145.

Vitor Meira Quote:

"I think this is the hardest we've worked during a race all season. I had no radio for the last 50 laps and you could see how tight it was on the track today. Our strategy was good and we had good pit stops all day, especially our last one which was the best. The Lincoln Tech car's setup was not the best but the incident in warm-up practice today didn't help us. The Panther guys worked so hard repairing the damage and they did such a great job putting our No. 4 car back together."

-credit: www.pantherracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing