Panther Wraps up Miami Open Test HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- The checkered flag concluded the final day of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway this afternoon, as Panther Racing wrapped up three productive days of practice. It was a welcome return...
Panther Wraps up Miami Open Test
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- The checkered flag concluded the final day of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway this afternoon, as Panther Racing wrapped up three productive days of practice. It was a welcome return to the 1.5-mile oval this morning, after testing on the 2.21-mile road course on both Wednesday and Thursday. Panther Racing has been victorious in Homestead on two different occasions, during both championship seasons in 2001 and 2002.
It didn't take IndyCar Series veteran Tomas Scheckter much time to get comfortable making only left-hand turns again, as he quickly jumped to the top of the speed chart in the middle of the morning session. Scheckter remained in the Top Three for a good portion of the morning, and continued to log laps in the #4 Pennzoil Panther Chevrolet. By the end of the day, he finished 7th on the chart, with a top lap speed of 213.549 mph, 25.0341 seconds
For teammate Tomas Enge, Saturday was another day of experience on an oval track. Last season Enge only competed in two IndyCar Series events with Patrick Racing, and this was his first opportunity to turn laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished the day as the 15th quickest car on the track, with a top speed of 212.033 mph, 25.2131 seconds.
Panther will return home and start making preparations for the Phoenix Open Test at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 8-10.
"For sure it was another good day here in Homestead. I was very happy with the car all day and there weren't any unforeseen problems. Our Chevrolet was right up there most of the day in terms of speed and I felt comfortable running with some of the fastest cars out there. I have a teammate that is learning how to run on these bigger ovals, so the better we perform in the Pennzoil car means the more data and information we'll be able to share with him."
"I would say it was very interesting day for me. I've learned so much in this one day today, just as I did last year when I ran the last two races. I'm getting into the rhythm of running ovals as it's not my forte. Definitely I need another few days like today to get ready for the season, and it's definitely a big help for me to get on a track where we're going to race this year."
Panther Tracks: Homestead-Miami Speedway was the host of Scheckter's best finish last year, when he took the checkered flag in 5th. He started the race in 3rd ... Enge competed in three Formula One races in 2001, including the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he finished 14th ... Panther Racing has been involved in six of the Top Ten closest finishes in IRL history -- winning five ... Since joining the league in 1998, Panther has 33 podium finishes, 43 Top Fives and 55 Top Tens .... The team's 2,457 laps led is second only to Team Menard .... Panther Racing won back-to-back IRL Championships in 2001 & 2002, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Championship in 2003, and is the league leader in victories for both series: IRL (14 wins) and IPS (7 wins) ... A total of nine drivers have started a race for Panther: Sam Hornish Jr. (44), Scott Goodyear (30), Tomas Scheckter (16), Townsend Bell (10), Mark Taylor (6), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).