Vitor Coasts to Sixth Place Finish at Texas Motor Speedway Panther Driver Bounces off Wall, Matsuura En Route to Another Top Ten FORT WORTH, Tex. (June 10, 2006) -- Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira was running fourth during the final lap of...
Vitor Coasts to Sixth Place Finish at Texas Motor Speedway
Panther Driver Bounces off Wall, Matsuura En Route to Another Top Ten
FORT WORTH, Tex. (June 10, 2006) -- Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira was running fourth during the final lap of the Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway when he ran out of fuel and coasted to a sixth place finish. Vitor overcame a collision with the outside retaining wall and Kosuke Matsuura early in the event to post his fifth Top Ten finish in six starts this season.
Meira remains in sixth place in the IndyCar Series points standings, and pulled within 12 points of fifth-place Tony Kanaan.
The No. 4 Panther Honda finished the race with the cords showing on the right-rear tire and a "doughnut" on the left sidepod after Meira bounced off the outside retaining wall and Matsuura's No. 55 car. The tire mark on the side of the Panther car resembled a primary sponsor, which the team is actively seeking.
Meira joked following the race that, "I didn't realize I needed to bang into another car to get this team a new sponsor."
Vitor started in 13th position and quickly climbed inside the Top Ten before he got caught up behind Buddy Rice, whose car was spraying oil during a restart, and fell back to 15th place. Meira slowly climbed up the field and continued to make improvements to the No. 4 as the race progressed.
After a Lap 135 pit stop he was in seventh and moved up to fourth after the final stop on Lap 193, just ahead of Scott Sharp and Sam Hornish Jr. As Meira took the white flag, he was poised for another Top Five result, but ran out of fuel in the final corner. Sharp and Hornish passed him and Meira coasted to the line ahead of Kanaan.
The IndyCar Series will be off next weekend and then return to action on June 24 at Richmond International Raceway for the SunTrust Indy Challenge, which will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. (EDT) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio channel 145.
Last season Meira led 40 laps at Richmond before he was collected in another car's accident. The Brazilian finished second there in 2004.
Vitor Meira Quote:
"This team is on a roll. We tuned the car perfectly for the end, which proved why Panther Racing has won this race five times. I ran out of fuel on the final lap because we did a short fill to stay ahead of Scott Sharp and (Sam) Hornish. If we would have taken the extra time to fill it then they would have been ahead of us anyway. If we would have had enough fuel for another half a straight-away we would have finished fourth. But this is Indy Racing, it's just so great and I couldn't be happier with the way this team has performed this season."