IRL: Sears Point: Panoz race report

Rice reaps second place finish with Panoz SONOMA, CA - Buddy Rice finished second in the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix today in the Indy Racing League's first foray on a permanent road course, hounding Tony Kanaan to the checkered flags yet ...

Rice reaps second place finish with Panoz

SONOMA, CA - Buddy Rice finished second in the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix today in the Indy Racing League's first foray on a permanent road course, hounding Tony Kanaan to the checkered flags yet finishing 1.1826 seconds behind the eventual winner.

Rice, who started the 80-lap contest in sixth place with his #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone challenger acknowledged the Panoz design team led by Simon Marshall "have been working hard to get things sorted out on the road circuits and I think it paid off for us today.

"Our pit stops were excellent like always and the Panoz was good," Rice revealed. We've been spot on, didn't hardly make any changes and Tim (his engineer Reiter) and I had a good game plan coming in." Having to conserve fuel after his final pit stop on lap 48, Rice "only had about a gallon left at the end so we planned the strategy just right."

After starting 18th in the 21-car field, Kosuke Matsuura secured best result of the season by bringing the #55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz/Honda home in sixth place. "It was a really good race," he exclaimed, "and I was able to hold my position the last 25 laps, which was a little bit difficult in meeting my fuel mileage number," Matsuura admitted.

Scott Dixon finished seventh in the #9 Target Panoz/Toyota from ninth on the grid and thought the road course contest was "a tough race but my Panoz was really easy to drive. While we had some understeer on the first stint, we made the adjustments and it was getting much better," the 2003 IRL champion revealed. "It's just so hard to pass here and the team prepared a much better car than [seventh place] showed."

Vitor Meira brought the #17 Menards/Johns Manville back to the stripes in ninth place after a late race altercation with Giorgio Pantano's #10 Target Panoz/Toyota and the Brazilian said, "Our position doesn't really represent how good a car we had and how fast we were. We risked the lead on a strategy decision and it simply doesn't pan out the way we thought it would."

The Indy cars have a two-day test on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway oval at mid-week and return to that venue for the 15th race of a 17-event contest September 11th.

-emt-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Vitor Meira