Milwaukee: Panther Racing qualifying report

Practice Crash Puts Vitor Meira in 26th Starting Position at Milwaukee Delphi National Guard Driver Brent Sherman Leads Indy Lights Team; Dillon 20th WEST ALLIS, Wis. (May 31, 2008) -- A qualification crash on Delphi National Guard driver...

Practice Crash Puts Vitor Meira in 26th Starting Position at Milwaukee

Delphi National Guard Driver Brent Sherman Leads Indy Lights Team; Dillon 20th

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (May 31, 2008) -- A qualification crash on Delphi National Guard driver Vitor Meira's third qualification lap Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile put Panther Racing in the 26th position for tomorrow's ABC Supply AJ Foyt Indy 225.

Meira experienced some neck pain following the accident and is scheduled to be re-evaluated in the morning by Indy Racing League Senior Medical Director Mike Olinger tomorrow morning. Despite not yet being cleared to drive in tomorrow's event, Meira assured his crew, "I'll be ready" when the green flag drops tomorrow.

At the time of this release, it was not determined if the team would need to switch to its No. 4-T backup Dallara. Regardless, the team will start in the 26th position.

Panther Firestone Indy Lights teammates Brent Sherman and Dillon Battistini experienced diverse results during qualifying for their 100-lap race tomorrow. Sherman's two lap average of 141.816 mph was good enough to put him in the ninth starting spot on the grid. Battistini was not as fortunate however, as the driver of the No. 15 Alexp car experienced electrical problems and will start 20th for the race.

Meira's confidence remains high after finishing in second place last week in the 92nd Indianapolis 500, a race that included a dramatic pass from third-to-first on the 159th lap of the race. Vitor started ninth last season in Milwaukee and moved his way into fifth place by the end of the race. The team veteran will have a taller task in front of him tomorrow, but he seemed unfazed by today's accident.

Sherman, the driver of the No. 16 Delphi National Guard machine, will be making his third Indy Lights start from inside the top ten. Battistini, who is currently second in the Firestone Indy Lights points standings, gained experience coming from the back of the field in the Indy Lights series when he started in the 21st spot for the second race on the Streets of St. Petersburg, but finished fourth.

Vitor Meira:

"I trusted the car. The wind was pretty bad in (turns) one and two, so the situation was tough. I was getting quicker every lap, and as I came off two I felt like I was through the turn but when I got back on the power the car stepped out, then went around. This doesn't hurt our momentum. I'm glad I'm OK, and as a team, we're going to be fine. The Delphi National Guard car was good this morning and I completely expect it to be good when it's all put back together tomorrow."

Dillon Battistini:

"I am expecting a few caution periods tomorrow; hopefully I'll be able to pick off a few cars on the restarts. My car has been good since we tested here last month.What happened today is out of my control. We just have to make the most out of it. Anything can happen in auto racing. I've never come from the back on an oval. I am not sure how easy it will be to pass. I'll just rely on my racing experience. I have to make sure that I finish and minimize the damage to my points. It is a long championship and all the front runners will experience their ups and downs this season."

Brent Sherman:

"We made a few changes from practice that improved the car. Our car is best in long runs though, so I am looking forward to the race, and I think that we can get a top 10 finish. I'm proud to represent Delphi and National Guard and to race for Panther. I think that we will give them a good showing tomorrow. Even though I have raced at several of these tracks, each one is like a new track. It's an adjustment, but if you are a good driver you should be able to make the adjustments. We are definitely going to get a win this year, hopefully tomorrow."

-credit: pr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Brent Sherman , Dillon Battistini , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing