Panther Leaves Japan With 13th- and 16th-Place Finishes MOTEGI, JAPAN -- Panther Racing drivers Tomas Scheckter and Mark Taylor completed the Indy Japan 300 with 13th and 16th place finishes, respectively, on Saturday afternoon at Twin Ring...
Panther Leaves Japan With 13th- and 16th-Place Finishes
MOTEGI, JAPAN -- Panther Racing drivers Tomas Scheckter and Mark Taylor completed the Indy Japan 300 with 13th and 16th place finishes, respectively, on Saturday afternoon at Twin Ring Motegi.
Taylor started 14th and quickly picked his way forward into the top group of cars. The Indy Racing League rookie moved as high as fourth on the grid and was running sixth when he was involved in an accident on Lap 168. In the incident, Taylor was coming out of Turn Two when Tora Takagi -- who was a lap down at the time -- dove low, pushing Taylor out of the groove. Once Taylor was high on the track, he was unable to keep his Menards/Johns Manville car out of the wall.
"It's really unfortunate we had to end a great run this way," Taylor said. "The car behind me was low and shoved me out of the groove. The track was extremely dusty out there and if you got high on the track at all it was impossible to keep it out of the wall. After a difficult few days of practice, we had a great racecar today. The setup was solid and we had no problems moving our way up the field. We didn't make a single change to the car all day. And the guys on the pit crew were remarkable. On our second pit stop today I moved up five positions, and that's how you win races. I'm looking forward to testing in Indianapolis next week and getting ready to be a part of the Month of May."
Scheckter fought with electrical problems in his Pennzoil Panther Chevrolet Dallara, but was still able to move up three positions from his eighth place start. He reached as high as eleventh during the course of the race.
"We had an electrical gremlin of some kind today and I couldn't make full power," Scheckter said. "It didn't matter what setting we used, I just couldn't get all the power out of our Chevy engine. Then I lost fourth gear. We pulled it behind the wall and the Panther Racing guys changed the gear cluster and they got me back out there. We were able to pick up four more spots. I love this team, these guys never quit. It wasn't a great day, but we met a lot of great people while we were over here in Japan and made a lot of new friends. What's important now is for all of us to start working hard to do well at Indianapolis."