MOTEGI, JAPAN Sept 19--Disappointed and angry, Vitor Meira finished 17th in the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi Sunday afternoon. Dario Franchitti claimed the AJ Foyt Trophy for winning the Oval Championship after finishing second to Helio ...
MOTEGI, JAPAN Sept 19--Disappointed and angry, Vitor Meira finished 17th in the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi Sunday afternoon.
Dario Franchitti claimed the AJ Foyt Trophy for winning the Oval Championship after finishing second to Helio Castroneves in the race.
Meira, who started 14th in the ABC Supply No. 14, was running in the top 12 for most of the race. He appeared to be headed for that solid finish but on the final restart, he lost five positions!
"I was right behind Alex Tagliani and was prepared to pass him like I did in the previous stint," Meira said. "But Milka Duno was ahead of him and he passed her going into three. She let him by but then she came down on me and we almost crashed! I went really, really wide and got in the marbles and lost a lot of momentum. Because of that people passed me for the rest of the lap."
Meira's anger at the situation came through loud and clear.
"For the last restart of the day, she and her team need to take responsibility and go to the back of the pack," he said. "She's two laps down and she does not need to be racing anybody at that point. She is in the way of every race and she does something wrong with somebody every race. This weekend it was with us."
In determining their race set-up, the ABC Supply team had anticipated that the hot temperatures would increase as the day wore on but that was not the case.
"Our car was pretty decent but maybe we were too heavy on downforce," Meira said. "We were very good through turns 3 and 4 but we paid a little bit on the straight-line speed. It started to get cooler instead of warmer like we thought it was going to do. We thought the downforce would pay off as it got hotter but it didn't get hotter, so that was one thing that worked against us."
Meira dropped to 13th in the points and is four points behind Tagliani (who finished 13th), and five points ahead of both Raphael Matos and Mario Moraes.
The team returns to the States on Tuesday, unpacks the equipment in Indianapolis, and then heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for a one day test there on Monday, the 27th.
A.J. Foyt IV and his wife Casey welcomed their first child yesterday! Anthony Joseph Foyt V was born in Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon at 2:48 p.m., making his debut in record time (he was expected Oct 2). He weighed 7 lbs. 1 oz. and is 20 inches long. Mother and child are doing fine, and the Father is beaming with pride.