IRL: Richmond: Panther Racing preview

Panther Racing Heads to Richmond on High Note RICHMOND, Virginia. -- Panther Racing heads to Richmond International Raceway this weekend on a high note after a strong weekend in Texas. Panther driver Tomas Scheckter scored the team's ...

Panther Racing Heads to Richmond on High Note

RICHMOND, Virginia. -- Panther Racing heads to Richmond International Raceway this weekend on a high note after a strong weekend in Texas. Panther driver Tomas Scheckter scored the team's first victory since 2003 in his dominant win from the pole position two weeks ago. Teammate Tomas Enge, despite an electrical problem that saddled him with a 19th-place finish, qualified on the front row and set the fastest lap of the race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Both drivers swept the front row for the Texas race, giving Chevrolet its first front row sweep since 2002. Scheckter gave Chevy its first victory since California Speedway in 2003, which was also Panther's last win before TMS.

Panther has experienced a great deal of success at RIR's ¾-mile oval, where the team scored a victory in 2002 with Sam Hornish, Jr., a second place finish (2001) and a fourth (2003). Tomas Scheckter was headed for a podium finish in 2004 when he was collected in an accident late in the race and finished 17th. Scheckter qualified in 5th for the SunTrust Indy Challenge last year, and rookie Mark Taylor started 3rd in Panther's #2 Chevrolet.

With Scheckter's victory at Texas, the Pennzoil Panther team has jumped into 9th place in the race for the 2005 IndyCar Series Championship.

This will be IndyCar Series rookie Tomas Enge's first start in Richmond, and the 28-year-old is coming off a weekend where he competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Enge -- who earned his team the pole position - was leading the GT1 class of the event until a series of problems very late in the endurance race prevented his team from taking the class victory. Enge's team finished 4th in their class. A pair of Chevrolet Corvettes went ahead and swept the first two spots in the GT1 class this year.

Enge won the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003 after starting on the pole.

Tomas Scheckter:

"Richmond is a difficult track, but it's one on our schedule that become one of my favorites. The racing there is exciting and I really enjoy when we race at night. We really want to carry the success we had in Texas on through the rest of the season, and that starts this weekend at Richmond. I know how powerful our Chevy motor is, and now it's up to us to get the job done again."

Tomas Enge:

"I've never been to the Richmond track, so I don't know what it's all about yet. I think it seems to be special according to what I've seen from last year's race, and not like a lot of tracks we go to. While it might be a new track for me, I think we are very strong everywhere we go in our RockStar Chevy. Obviously, I'm looking forward to the race and finally a decent result."

Panther Tracks: Panther Racing has been involved in seven of the Top Ten closest finishes in IndyCar Series history -- winning six .... Panther won at Richmond International Raceway in 2002 with Sam Hornish, Jr. .... Tomas Scheckter has led laps in three of the six races so far in the 2005 season ... 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 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, making it the winningest team in league history.... 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 (22), Townsend Bell (10), Mark Taylor (6), Tomas Enge (5), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Buddy Lazier (1), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).

www.rockstar69.com - www.pantherracing.com -- www.pennzoil.com

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Tomas Enge , Robby McGehee , Buddy Lazier , Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear , Christian Fittipaldi , Dan Wheldon , Lyn St. James , Dave Steele , Sam Hornis
Teams Panther Racing