IRL: Pikes Peak: Panoz race report

New chassis updates help Team Panoz at Pikes Peak FOUNTAIN, CO - The Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway proved the value of Panoz upgrades for the short oval program. Drivers praised the newly developed front flap and end plate...

New chassis updates help Team Panoz at Pikes Peak

FOUNTAIN, CO - The Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway proved the value of Panoz upgrades for the short oval program.

Drivers praised the newly developed front flap and end plate installation on their Panoz chassis' front wing, and Vitor Meira brought his #17 Menards/Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone racer to the checkered flags in fifth place on this warm, windy and sunny afternoon.

"Panoz has made some big improvements and this is our best short oval result. The front wing made a big difference," Meira confirmed, "and with it the car feels better to drive. I think we found some things today that will help us in the future," he said.

"Race conditions changed a lot from the warmup," which was cooler with no winds "to the race." Fighting a loose car early on Meira revealed, "Later in the fuel stint the car came around and it was fast so we were able to move through the field."

Teammate Danica Patrick finished eighth for her sixth top-10 result in a stellar rookie season. Bringing the #16 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz/Honda to the checkers she explained, "The car has improved from earlier in the year and we were looking for a good result" after running strongly at Milwaukee last month.

"We got caught up in traffic with slower cars and it is hard to get around them on the 1-mile tracks. We had a lot of oversteer at the beginning and understeer at the end, but I am pleased the car was improved from earlier in the year," Patrick said.

Changing track conditions relegated last weekend's winner Scott Sharp to ninth at the close with his #8 Delphi/Fernandez Panoz/Honda. In the 225-lap contest that was slowed only once for ten laps due to caution, Sharp was "pretty unlucky with the yellow" that dispatched him one lap down. "We just fought through and got the best finish we could," after most of the drivers he was battling got shuffled through the pack. Sharp is tied for fifth in the point chase with Helio Castroneves.

The Indy cars face the challenge of racing on the Infineon Raceway Sears Point road course next Sunday, only the second time in its ten-year history this series has raced on a non-oval circuit. Race #14 of 17 on the docket, the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix takes place August 28th and airs live on ESPN, beginning at 3:30PM EDT.

-emt-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira