Meira Collects Another Top Five Finish at Milwaukee Mile Matsuura Finishes 12th; Best Finish of Panther Racing Career WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 3, 2007) -- A late pit strategy call by Panther Racing team owner John Barnes helped boost driver...
Meira Collects Another Top Five Finish at Milwaukee Mile
Matsuura Finishes 12th; Best Finish of Panther Racing Career
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 3, 2007) -- A late pit strategy call by Panther Racing team owner John Barnes helped boost driver Vitor Meira to a fifth-place finish at the Milwaukee Mile Sunday, the Brazilian's second Top Five finish of the season.
Super Aguri Panther Racing driver Kosuke Matsuura battled back Sunday to finish 12th, his best career finish with Panther Racing.
Vitor was able to quickly advance two positions from his starting position of ninth at the start. While he was able to run with the leaders, his car was pushing in turns three and four, which prevented the Brazilian from moving further forward during the race. After running consistently inside the Top Ten, Barnes made the call on Lap 161 to make a fuel-only stop. Meira moved from ninth to third in pit lane, and even though he slipped back to seventh after the restart, Vitor was within striking distance of another Top Five finish.
The effort equaled Meira's best finish at Milwaukee; he finished fifth here in 2004 when he was the pole-sitter.
Matsuura, who also started a season-best sixth for the race, fought with a broken weight jacker during the event, but was able to bounce back late in the race. His car went loose late in his first stint, pushed in the second stint, but was alive during the last half of the race. At one stretch, Matsuura was pulling away from the lead lap car of Dario Franchitti, who eventually finished second.
Meira moved up one position in the 2007 points battle, and is now tied with Danica Patrick for ninth place. Vitor is now just five points out of eighth (Scott Sharp) and ten points out of seventh position (Tomas Scheckter). His fifth-place points finish in 2007 with Panther was a career best.
"The car really came alive during our last two stints. John Barnes made a great call to go with a fuel-only stop late in the race that put us in a position to finish like this. When JB made the call I wondered if it was the right thing to do, but he's been doing this so long that I should know better. He's one of the best out here. At Panther we did so much work this offseason it's great to see it pay off like this. No other IndyCar Series team has more wins than Panther at Texas, and now we're going to go try to get another one."
"The car was fine at first but I started to have strong oversteer after a while and the first pit stop took long so I dropped to the end of the line. My weight jacker was broken so only thing I had was roll bars so I couldn't make much adjustments. We'll just have to try to avoid mistakes at pit stops and keep doing our best. Hope we will be able to do better in Texas."