Meira Looks to Build on Strong Weekend; Past Success at Infineon Indy Lights Tandem Set to Move Up in Points at California Road Course SONOMA, California (August 18, 2008) -- In five starts over three races at Infineon Raceway, Panther ...
Meira Looks to Build on Strong Weekend; Past Success at Infineon
Indy Lights Tandem Set to Move Up in Points at California Road Course
SONOMA, California (August 18, 2008) -- In five starts over three races at Infineon Raceway, Panther Racing drivers have combined for four Top Ten finishes, including two Top Fives. Driver Vitor Meira will look to add to Panther's success when he joins the rest of the IndyCar Series field in Sonoma for the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300.
Joining the No. 4 Delphi National Guard machine in California will be Panther's Firestone Indy lights duo of Dillon Battistini and Brent Sherman for the Carneros 100 and the Valley of the Moon 100. Fresh off his fourth victory of the season in the Kentucky 100, Dillon will look to move closer to the championship lead this weekend, while Brent will look to build off his fifth Top Ten of the season.
In last year's race at Infineon Meira and Panther teammate Kosuke Matsuura made good use of their partnership, starting the race in 12th and 13th and eventually working their way up to 9th and 10th. Much of the race was spent with the two running nose to tail, as no cautions were thrown in the first 69 laps of the race. The result was Meira's second ninth place finish at Infineon to go along with a third place finish in 2006 when he made up three positions on the last lap.
Coming off his 90th career start and one of his best race weekends of the season in Kentucky, where his started second, finished fourth, and made up three spots in the championship standings, Meira will try to move into the Top Ten in points with a strong performance in Sonoma. Currently 12th in the championship, Vitor sits 23 points out of eighth position.
With his victory in Kentucky, Dillon moved up three spots in the race for the Firestone Firehawk Cup, given to the winner of the Firestone Indy Lights Series. The driver of the No. 15 National Guard Delphi racecar is currently tied for third in the standings, 57 points behind the leader.
Sherman, who began his racing career at Russell Racing School in Sonoma, will try to move up from his tenth place position, where the driver of the No. 16 National Guard Delphi car sits 16 points behind seventh place Jeff Simmons.
The PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 will be broadcast live on ESPN2 Sunday at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio channels 144 and 145.
The Carneros 100 will be held on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. (EDT) and the Valley of the Moon 100 will be held on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. (EDT). The races will air on ESPN2 Thursday August 28th at 5 p.m. (EDT)
We were really quick at the test we had an Infineon last week, and that's always a good sign. There were several things we were able to work on, but overall the speed was there. I also liked the change to the course they made there, because I think it will give us a really good place to pass. Every time Panther has been to Infineon we've been quick, and we feel like that will be the case with the Delphi National Guard car this weekend too. And we're coming off such a strong race at Kentucky that the team is feeling really confident right now with three races left."
"We definitely have momentum coming out of Kentucky, but we will still need (Richard) Antinucci and (Raphael) Matos to run into some bad luck this weekend. We've had some incidents that have caused us set backs on traditional circuits. In St. Pete we had a rock fly into the engine, and in Ohio we were taken out in fifth position, otherwise we would be in a better spot in the championship. This weekend will be a big test for the No. 15 National Guard Delphi team, but I think that we are up to it."
"This weekend will be a good test to see how far our team has come on road courses. This will be our fourth trip to a non oval track and we've been making progress. I think our progress shows in our last race in Mid-Ohio we finished tenth; I think we can build on that. This is the place where I got my start racing. My dad got me a present to go the Russell Racing School (at Infineon Raceway) and after winning the graduate run-off I got a scholarship. It will be nice to put on a good show for the people that were there when I was there."