Motegi: Panther Racing race report

Bent Suspension Leads to 16th-Place Finish for Panther in Japan Brush with Wall Spoils Top Ten Finish for Vitor Meira MOTEGI, Japan. (April 20, 2008) -- Panther driver Vitor Meira couldn't capitalize on a racecar that was getting better...

Bent Suspension Leads to 16th-Place Finish for Panther in Japan
Brush with Wall Spoils Top Ten Finish for Vitor Meira

MOTEGI, Japan. (April 20, 2008) -- Panther driver Vitor Meira couldn't capitalize on a racecar that was getting better every lap Sunday at Twin Ring Motegi, where a bent suspension forced the IndyCar Series veteran to park his No. 4 Delphi National Guard car after just 92 circuits of the 200-lap event. The damage was just enough to cut the race short for the Panther team, and Meira finished in 16th position.

Meira had climbed to tenth place as the race neared its mid-point, when he came upon the racecar of rookie Jay Howard, who had just come out of the pits. Howard slowed entering the third turn because of cold tires and Meira pulled alongside him, but his brakes would not work, so the No. 4 slipped into the marbles. Vitor attempted to downshift in an effort to slow his car, but he made light wall contact, causing the suspension damage.

The IndyCar Series will travel to Kansas Speedway next weekend for the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300. Kansas has been the site of some of Meira's most exciting finishes, and he rates the 1.5-mile oval as one of his all-time favorites.

Vitor Meira, No. 4 Delphi National Guard Dallara Honda:

"I think Jay Howard had just come out of the pits and had cold tires because he slowed much more than I expected going into turn three. As I tried to slow down I didn't have any brakes and I didn't want to hit him, so I had to go somewhere. While I was outside his car I downshifted twice trying to get slowed down, but I was caught in the marbles and we made light contact with the wall. The Delphi National Guard car was really coming to me and we had improved a lot of places, but sometimes these things happen."

-credit: pr

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Series INDYCAR