IRL: Nashville: Panther Racing race report

Lazier Leaves Nashville in Ninth Enge Suffers Back Injury; Scheckter 17th NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Buddy Lazier made the best out of what was an otherwise difficult evening in the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway Saturday. Lazier, in his...

Lazier Leaves Nashville in Ninth
Enge Suffers Back Injury; Scheckter 17th

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Buddy Lazier made the best out of what was an otherwise difficult evening in the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway Saturday. Lazier, in his second start with Panther Racing, pulled out a 9th-place finish at the concrete 1.33-mile oval. Tomas Scheckter experienced a mechanical problem and ended up in 17th while IndyCar rookie Tomas Enge had a rear suspension failure and finished 23rd.

Enge has already jumped from his starting position of 11th to 8th on the grid when on Lap 28 his car suffered a suspension failure, sending this RockStar Chevrolet backwards into the Turn One wall. He was transported to University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tenn. for further examination, which revealed injuries to his T-12 and L-1 vertebra. He was treated and released from this hospital on Saturday.

Lazier began the race in 3rd, his best starting position in over three seasons. While running inside the Top Ten for the entire race, the former Indy 500 champ struggled with his gearing on the restarts, and at times lost valuable track position. Buddy was victorious during his first run at Nashville in 2001, and also gave Panther its best finish in the Indianapolis 500 this season.

Scheckter captured his third pole position of the season Saturday after qualifications were rained out. Tomas led the first three laps of the race and was sitting comfortably in 8th with just 40 laps remaining when a mechanical failure ended his night. The DNF ended Scheckter's streak of three consecutive Top Five finishes, dating back to his victory at Texas Motor Speedway.

Buddy Lazier:

"We had trouble on the restarts tonight, but other than that it was a great run. Every time we would restart I would get bogged down between third and fourth gear. There aren't a lot of places to pass here and if you want to get by somebody, the restart is the place to do it. Other than that we had a Top Five car tonight, the entire Pennzoil Panther package was great and Chevy gave us everything we needed. I always prided myself on being good on the restarts but tonight there was no way we could get them. It's still a solid run, and we'll have something special for Chevrolet in Michigan."

Tomas Scheckter:

"The guys are still looking at the car right now, so who knows what happened. Looked like an oil line might have broken in the Pennzoil Platinum car, because we lost oil pressure immediately. The Pennzoil Chevy was great, it was another race where we were just waiting for the moment to turn it up and never got there. We missed a great opportunity to make a big jump in points, but we'll be back in Milwaukee."

Panther Tracks: Pennzoil Panther Race Engineer David Cripps has engineered three drivers to Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year awards: Lyn St. James (1992), Christian Fittipaldi (1995), Tora Takagi (2003), and Cripps now works with the 2002 co-Rookie of the Year Tomas Scheckter ..... Tomas Scheckter was named Indianapolis 500 co-Rookie of the Year in 2002, and scored his first IndyCar Series victory in the same year at Michigan International Raceway ... Panther has a total of 15 IndyCar Series victories .... Panther Racing won back-to-back IRL Championships in 2001 & 2002 and the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Championship in 2003 ... A total of eleven drivers have started a race for Panther: Sam Hornish Jr. (44), Scott Goodyear (30), Tomas Scheckter (25), Townsend Bell (10), Tomas Enge (8), Mark Taylor (6), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Buddy Lazier (2), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).

-www.pantherracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Tomas Enge , Buddy Lazier , Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear , Christian Fittipaldi , Tora Takagi , Townsend Bell , Dan Wheldon , Lyn St. James , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing