IRL: Texas Panther Pack Powers Up At Night

Indianapolis, IN-- Every team has what they call "the perfect condition" to run. For the Pennzoil Panther Pack, racing under the lights, on a high bank oval seems to be magic. In the three night races of the '98 season the 1st year Pennzoil ...

Indianapolis, IN-- Every team has what they call "the perfect condition" to run. For the Pennzoil Panther Pack, racing under the lights, on a high bank oval seems to be magic. In the three night races of the '98 season the 1st year Pennzoil Panther Pack racked up an impressive record of 4th at Texas, 3rd at Charlotte and a 4th in Atlanta. "For me it's a combination of the 1.5 mile high banked ovals and racing under the lights," said Goodyear. "The high banked ovals make for exciting racing and then put it under the lights and you've really got a show".

The Panther Pack comes into the Longhorn 500K in strong position. Although finishing a disappointing 27th at Indy last month, the Pack still leads the league in team points and Goodyear is a close second to Jeff Ward in driver points. Team Owner and Manager John Barnes is still happy with the momentum of the "Pack". "We play by the Harbaugh rule at Panther---you've got 48 hours to be disappointed and after that, it's time to move on. We've been focused all season and a disappointing Indy won't change our drive for the championship."

The "Pack" hasn't run any test laps at Texas Motor Speedway since December but that doesn't prove to be a big concern for the team. Chief Engineer Andy Brown has been able to achieve an excellent level of consistency in the super speedway set-up and expects that with some minor adjustments based on weather the "Pack" will roll out in good shape. "The team has been able to replicate our test set-ups at each of the super speedways that have translated into great race cars. So I've got confidence that we will once again be right on the money in set-up."

Last year the "Pack" was so comfortable running the night races that the team used the slogan -"The Panther Hunts at Night." This year the team has carried that slogan over and hopes that the hunt will end in victory lane.

"We were consistent and up front all of last year at the night races," said crew chief Kevin Blanch. "We believe with a year of experience under our belts, the momentum of a victory at Phoenix and Scott's renewed focus on winning races that we are ready to bring home the big prize during the nighttime runs."

Goodyear's NightTime Hunts

1997 - 4th at Texas Motor Speedway, 3rd at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 2nd at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

1998 - 4th at Texas Motor Speedway, 3rd at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 4th at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

1999 - Running 2nd when the race at Lowes Motor Speedway was cancelled.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers John Barnes