IRL: Pikes Peak: Panoz Saturday report

Patrick leads Panoz team using new wing installations FOUNTAIN, CO - Team Panoz arrived at Pikes Peak International Raceway with new tools in hand for the final mile oval contest of the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season. The ...

Patrick leads Panoz team using new wing installations

FOUNTAIN, CO - Team Panoz arrived at Pikes Peak International Raceway with new tools in hand for the final mile oval contest of the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season.

The engineering staff in Braselton, Georgia designed and constructed new front flap and end-plate installations specifically to aid efficiency and make the Panoz chassis more effective in traffic. "We knew we had to make a step up on the short ovals," said designer Nicolas Alcock.

Five of the eight Panoz drivers on the 22-car grid for tomorrow afternoon's Honda Indy 225 chose to utilize the new parts and were pleased with the progress. Qualifying was held under demanding conditions, as the day that began hot and sunny turned cool and extremely windy, with changing directions and severe gusting impacting time trials.

Danica Patrick was fastest of the Panoz drivers - and quickest in combined practice - in her #16 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone entry. Patrick's qualifying lap of 174.389mph gained the rookie fifth on the grid. "We weren't perfect on the gears but we just used the information we had and the car was strong. I am confident for this race," Patrick declared, "and I'm pleased with the direction of the Panoz chassis right now. We have a few new parts and they seem to be a big help."

Teammate Vitor Meira, the second driver to take timed laps placed his #17 Menards/Johns Manville Panoz/Honda ninth with a lap of 173.830mph. "It's hard to be proactive with the wind and making proper changes for these conditions. In practice I liked the new wing pieces but we still have to race with it and see how it works," Meira explained. "I was flat on the throttle for qualifying and the car felt pretty good."

Last week's winner, Scott Sharp will bring the #8 Delphi/Fernandez Panoz/Honda to the green flags in tenth place, after lapping the mile oval at 173.697mph. "I'm really happy with the work Panoz has done on the car and I think the new front wing will be more efficient," he noted. "We were pretty close on our gearing for the conditions. We used practice today to work on the race setup and have to hope that puts us in a good position for tomorrow because you never know what variables will come down the pike."

-panoz

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