IRL: Nashville: Panther Racing race report

Meira Takes Another Podium at Nashville Vitor Gets Fourth Top Three Finish in Last Five Starts NASHVILLE, Ten. (July 15, 2006) -- The IndyCar Series podium has become a familiar place for Revive Panther driver Vitor Meira, who collected...

Meira Takes Another Podium at Nashville

Vitor Gets Fourth Top Three Finish in Last Five Starts

NASHVILLE, Ten. (July 15, 2006) -- The IndyCar Series podium has become a familiar place for Revive Panther driver Vitor Meira, who collected another Top Three finish at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday in the Firestone Indy 200. With a third place result in the 200-lap event, Meira has now finished on the podium in four of his last five starts, which includes three in a row.

The 29-year-old Brazilian remains in fifth place in the IndyCar Series points standings, but closed the gap on both Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. He also distanced himself from sixth-place Tony Kanaan, who finished the race in the 12th position.

The Panther Pack qualified in seventh for the race and utilized its best day in the pits to assist Meira in his climb to the top of the field. Vitor gained positions on each of his first two pit stops; moving ahead of Dario Franchitti on his first stop and came out ahead of Hornish on the second stop. It was the Pack's strongest performance in the pits this season.

Meira was running strong in third place before the final restart of the race, on Lap 174, when he jumped past Dan Wheldon. Vitor began to pull closer and closer to eventual winner Scott Dixon, but was unable to get past the No. 9 car for the lead. Wheldon took back second place on Lap 191 and Meira continued to his 20th career Top Five finish.

The IndyCar Series will travel to Milwaukee Mile for next weekend's ABC Supply Co./ A.J. Foyt Indy 225. The race will be held on Sunday, July 23rd at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) and will be broadcast live on ESPN with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio Channel 145.

Meira has a strong record at Milwaukee's flat one-mile oval. He was the pole winner in 2004, the same season he finished fifth at the track. Vitor finished ninth at Milwaukee in 2003.

Vitor Meira Quote:

"I'm kicking and slamming at the door of my first win and I'm making as much noise as I can. This was another great run for Panther and my guys had a great day in the pits. We improved every time. This was a complete race for us and it's great to finish third in our first race with Revive as a new sponsor. We got past Wheldon on a restart late and I was making a run at Dixon, but he could run just a little bit lower than I could. Our car was really good in traffic, but after the first five laps here the line just keeps getting thinner and thinner and it's really tough to pass."

Panther Tracks:

Panther Race Engineer Bill Pappas was Race Engineer with Juan Pablo Montoya when he won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000. Pappas joined Panther after spending the past seven seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing. During his tenure there, Pappas engineers cars that led the Indy 500 in every race from 2000-2004, and also engineered 2002 pole winner Bruno Junqueira ...

Support Engineer Brent "Woody" Harvey helped engineer former Panther driver Mark Taylor to the Indy Pro Series Championship in 2003, when the team won seven of the 11 races in which they competed ...

Panther has a total of 15 IndyCar Series victories ....

Panther Racing won back-to-back IRL Championships in 2001 & 2002 and the Indy Pro Series Championship in 2003 ...

A total of twelve drivers have started a race for Panther:

Sam Hornish Jr. (44), Tomas Scheckter (33), Scott Goodyear (30), Tomas Enge (13), Townsend Bell (11), Vitor Meira (9), Buddy Lazier (6), Mark Taylor (6), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).

www.pantherracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske