Sonoma: Panther Racing qualifying report

Wheldon Advances in Infineon Qualifications; Panther Starts 12th National Guard Panther Racing Team Narrowly Beats Mutoh, Rahal to Advance to Second Round SONOMA, Calif. (August 21, 2010) -- The National Guard Panther Racing team fought through...

Wheldon Advances in Infineon Qualifications; Panther Starts 12th
National Guard Panther Racing Team Narrowly Beats Mutoh, Rahal to Advance to Second Round

SONOMA, Calif. (August 21, 2010) -- The National Guard Panther Racing team fought through a tough first group of IZOD IndyCar Series qualifiers Sunday at Infineon Raceway and advanced to the second round of the three-round knockout and will start 12th for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Sonoma. Team driver Dan Wheldon will be starting in the same position in which he did here last season, when he also finished in the 12th position.

On the final lap of the first round of qualifications Wheldon posted a top speed of 106.985 mph, 1:17.4953 seconds, a time that narrowly edged both Hideki Mutoh (1:17.5187) and Graham Rahal (1:17.5284) who were also on flying laps at the conclusion of the session. The team's effort on the final lap was good enough for sixth position in the first round and allowed Wheldon and the National Guard crew to advance to the second session.

Panther used two sets of the Firestone red alternate tires during the first round, and did not have a fresh set of sticker reds for the second segment. Wheldon posted a quick lap of 106.527 mph, 1:17.8280 seconds which solidified his 12th position on the starting grid.

Team Penske drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves swept the front row, with Power capturing his IndyCar Series record eighth pole position of the year. Dario Franchitti, who is currently trailing Power in the championship standings, will start third.

The Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma will be broadcast live on VERSUS at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 22nd with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, www.indycar.com, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 121.

Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing:

"It was a very good team effort today. It's just so competitive right now in the IZOD IndyCar Series and I think in the second round we could have been quicker but we had already used both sets of the Firestone red tires. The team continues to work incredibly hard and that's especially good because we have a lot of Soldiers here from the National Guard this weekend. We're in a position now where we can certainly do well in the race and that's what we intend to do. It was a really productive day and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow."

-source: panther racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Graham Rahal , Dan Wheldon , Will Power , Hideki Mutoh
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske