Long Beach: Panther Racing preview

Dan Wheldon, Panther Aim for Good Results on Long Beach Streets National Guard Panther Racing Team Hopes to Repeat 2009 performance at Long Beach LONG BEACH, Calif.- (April 13, 2010) -- Panther Racing and Dan Wheldon hope to continue their...

Dan Wheldon, Panther Aim for Good Results on Long Beach Streets

National Guard Panther Racing Team Hopes to Repeat 2009 performance at Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif.- (April 13, 2010) -- Panther Racing and Dan Wheldon hope to continue their early season success in this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn street course. Wheldon climbed sixteen positions in last week's event at Barber Motorsports Park, finishing 11th after starting in 25th position, and hopes to carry that momentum into Long Beach, where he scored his first Top Five finish of 2009.

Wheldon finished fifth at Long Beach in 2009, charging through the field from his 14th starting position and avoiding two accidents that could have been disastrous for the No. 4. Aided by quick pit stops and effective pit strategy from Chief Engineer David Cripps and team co-owner John Barnes, Wheldon picked up positions throughout the day and held off a late-race charge by Marco Andretti to finish fifth in the inaugural event at Long Beach.

Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda

"I'm excited about the Long Beach race, it's always a good race and such a big event for the IZOD IndyCar Series. Obviously the National Guard car was strong there last year, and we ended up having a really good result. We were strong there from the second practice session on through the rest of the weekend. So I'm excited about getting back there and having another good result in the No. 4 car."

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be broadcast live on Versus at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) with additional coverage provided by XM Channel 145, Sirius 211, and IndyCar.com.

SGT Louie M. Martinez Named Panther Racing's National Guard Long Beach Hometown Hero

SGT Louie M. Martinez, veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and member of the California National Guard, is National Guard Panther Racing's "Hometown Race" for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

SGT Martinez will join driver Dan Wheldon on Friday afternoon for a two-seater ride and will attend the IZOD Indy Racing League Autograph session on Saturday, where he will sign a specially-made "Hero Card" featuring his picture and biography on one side and Wheldon's on the other. Panther CEO and co-owner John Barnes will honor Martinez on Sunday morning before he is recognized on the pre-race stage prior to the start of the event.

Martinez, a native of National City, California, joined the California Army National Guard in October 2006 and is currently assigned to the HHC 40th Infantry Division. Martinez served overseas in a hostile fire area and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He has served as the legal assistance paralegal and the military justice paralegal and worked in the Office of the Command Judge Advocate.

He is a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and Operation Fall Blaze Certificate of Appreciation.

Panther honors a "Hometown Hero" at each IZOD IndyCar Series race held in the United States.

-source: panther racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dan Wheldon , Marco Andretti , John Barnes
Teams Panther Racing