IRL: Michigan: Panther Racing qualifying report

Meira's Michigan Run Will Start from Eleventh on the Grid Matsuura to Start 14th and Looking for Another BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 4, 2007) -- Delphi Panther driver Vitor Meira will make another run at winning the Firestone Indy 400 at ...

Meira's Michigan Run Will Start from Eleventh on the Grid
Matsuura to Start 14th and Looking for Another

BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 4, 2007) -- Delphi Panther driver Vitor Meira will make another run at winning the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway tomorrow from the 11th starting position, where he qualified for the 200-lap event.

Panasonic Panther driver Kosuke Matsuura will start in the 14th-position, who, like Meira, is attempting to better his best career finish at Michigan -- ninth place last season -- and will start in 14th position.

Meira led the most laps of any driver during the 2006 event here, when he paced the field for 75 laps, but lost the lead during a pit stop sequence late in the race. Despite his best efforts to catch eventual winner Helio Castroneves, Meira settled on a second place result -- his best finish at MIS.

Vitor's top lap was 215.957 mph, 33.3399 seconds.

Matsuura and his Panasonic team worked through a pushing condition during both of the morning's practice sessions. Kosuke is looking to better his best oval finish of the season, which was a ninth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway earlier in the year. Matsuura has amassed three Top Ten results this season, and would have more had it not been for a string of bad luck. The Japanese driver knows Michigan's two-mile oval well, and started from the front row here during his rookie season in 2004 -- the same year he claimed the league's Rookie of the Year honor.

Kosuke posted a fast lap of 215.371 mph, 33.4307 seconds.

For Panther, Michigan has been a track where the team has experienced success, but no IndyCar Series victory. While the team did claim an Indy Pro Series win with Mark Taylor in 2003, it has finished second twice (Meira in 2006 and Sam Hornish in 2003) and collected another podium result with Tomas Scheckter in 2005.

The Firestone Indy 400 will be broadcast live on ESPN2 Sunday at noon (EDT) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio channels 144 and 145.

Vitor Meira:

"I think our qualifying run was as good as it could be. We got the most out of everything we had in the Delphi car. We were aggressive, because we needed to be, and the No. 4 was pretty trimmed out. We needed to do that so we could keep the car on the bottom of the track, which is where it needs to be to qualify well here. Last year we nearly won this race and I didn't start at the front, and so we're hoping for the same kind of results at Michigan tomorrow."

Kosuke Matsuura:

"The Panasonic car was fine, but I wish that I had more speed in qualifying. I know the race is different from qualifying, but I felt I could have been much quicker today. Hopefully I'll be able to find better race setup for the race tomorrow. We continue to improve and I'm looking forward to the race."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Helio Castroneves , Kosuke Matsuura , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing