IRL: Michigan: Panther Racing qualifying report

Scheckter Grabs Another Front Row Spot at Michigan Lazier Starts 6th; Bell 10th BROOKLYN, Mich. - Pennzoil Panther driver Tomas Scheckter came within four hundredths of a second from winning his fourth pole award of the season Saturday at ...

Scheckter Grabs Another Front Row Spot at Michigan
Lazier Starts 6th; Bell 10th

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Pennzoil Panther driver Tomas Scheckter came within four hundredths of a second from winning his fourth pole award of the season Saturday at Michigan International Raceway. Scheckter will start on the front row after qualifying second for the Firestone Indy 400, and will be joined by teammates Buddy Lazier (6th) and Townsend Bell (10th) in the top half of the 23-car field.

Scheckter's No. 4 Pennzoil Chevrolet has been a familiar site at the front of the IndyCar Series pack this season, and Sunday will mark his seventh start from inside the Top Five. His top lap was 219.100 mph, 32.8617 seconds. The three poles Scheckter has won this season is a record for Panther Racing, and four of his last five starts -- all Top Fives -- account for his best as a member of the team.

Lazier, whose best start at Michigan was 15th in 2002, qualified with a time of 218.683 mph, 32.9243 seconds. He will start sixth after his second qualification lap was disallowed for going below the white line on the backstretch. Buddy has started inside the Top Ten in each of his starts this season.

Bell looks to make his second start at the two-mile oval on Sunday, and will start 10th after a quick lap of 217.502 mph, 33.1031 seconds. He finished eighth at Michigan last year after starting seventh. He is subbing for injured Tomas Enge, who will be reevaluated on August 10th and is expected to be cleared for the upcoming race at Kentucky Speedway.

The Firestone Indy 400 will be broadcast on ABC, at 3 p.m. (EDT). Additional coverage is available through the IMS Radio Network, and fans can check IndyCar.com for complete listing of network affiliates.

Tomas Scheckter:

"That's all we had today. We did everything perfectly, hit all our marks and my engineers gave me a great setup. This race is very important to us and Chevrolet. Lots of people are here to have a look at us and we'd love to give them a victory in their backyard. Even when you start second by just a little bit like we are, you still have to be happy when you know you did everything you could. It's going to be a positioning race, and we have plenty of pit stops to work on our car. I've noticed that our car works really high on the track, and that's going to make for some exciting racing tomorrow."

Buddy Lazier:

"We made a lot of gains from practice, and that says how hard these Pennzoil Panther guys are working. It's great to be able to come out here every time and have a great racecar. It's going to be a long race tomorrow. We know we've got the horsepower we need from Chevrolet and we're going to be strong in the draft. I like that my team can find a way to make my car quicker after every session. This has been such a great opportunity with Panther, and Chevrolet has been so competitive that it makes all of our jobs a lot easier."

Townsend Bell:

"It's good to be back. Panther always has good cars, and the Chevy engine is really strong. It's easy to jump in and shake off all the rust. Having a good car really helps. I almost feel like I never left. I'm just happy to have a chance to get back into a competitive car again. We've got a really cool sponsor this year in RockStar that makes it a little bit more fun out here. Hopefully, we'll have a great day and all the Panther boys will be partying like a RockStar."

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tomas Enge , Buddy Lazier , Townsend Bell
Teams Panther Racing