Meira Seventh Quick in First Day of St. Petersburg Practice Battistini Fifth in Indy Lights Practice; Sherman Steadily Improves Speed St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 4, 2008) -- Posted below are notes and quotes from Panther Racing drivers ...
Meira Seventh Quick in First Day of St. Petersburg Practice
Battistini Fifth in Indy Lights Practice; Sherman Steadily Improves Speed
St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 4, 2008) -- Posted below are notes and quotes from Panther Racing drivers following the first day of practice on the Streets of St. Petersburg. The team is preparing for two Firestone Indy Lights races and Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Vitor Meira, No. 4 Delphi National Guard Dallara Honda
Vitor Meira had a productive day of practice Friday in St. Petersburg, where he finished seventh overall in the combined results from both practice sessions. Meira's Delphi National Guard team worked on several different spring packages throughout the course of the day and the No. 4 car finished second in the first practice session. The car remained strong during the afternoon session held later in the afternoon, and Meira completed another session inside the Top Ten, finishing sixth.
Meira's best time was 1:03.6505 seconds, and his top speed registered 101.806 mph.
"Today was a great day for us. I really felt comfortable in the car and the speed was there for us. The balance is good, the grip is good and I feel like we're going to be really strong the rest of the weekend. What I liked today was that the car continued to get better with every change we made, and obviously that tells you that you're working in the right direction. We've still got time to get quicker tomorrow, but today we all learned that the No. Delphi National Guard car will be running up front on Sunday."
Dillon Battistini, No. 16 AlexP Firestone Indy Lights
Current Firestone Indy Lights championship points leader Dillon Battistini performed well in his first day of street course practice in a Panther car. The biggest adjustment for the British driver was learning how to left-foot brake through some of the turns, a style he hadn't used since go-karting. Using the advice of spotter/driver coach Pancho Carter, Dillon continued to get more and more comfortable on the course, and his times reflected his comfort level.
Battistini ran a top time of 68.04 seconds, 95.233 mph.
"I'm pretty happy with the car. We're having just a little bit of an issue through turn two; some understeer which is what we will concentrate on for the qualifying session. Generally the car balance is quite good and obviously this is my first time on this track, so running up in the top five is very good. It's a steep learning curve and I'm glad to be driving a good car on a good team."
Brent Sherman, No. 16 Best Buddies Firestone Indy Lights
Brent Sherman continued to improve throughout the day, despite finishing 22nd on the overall speed chart. This weekend's street course could be Sherman's biggest challenge of the season as he adjusts to open-wheel cars after spending the previous five years in stock cars. But despite the tall task ahead of him, Sherman continued to improve with each lap.
Sherman's best speed was 93.888 mph, and a time of 1:09.3309 seconds.
"I'm getting better and better with every lap. It's still a lot of work, but I managed to have some fun out there when I got more comfortable. I'm working on a little bit of everything out there; braking is a big point for me, the downforce and just getting into a rhythm out here. I'm learning to trust the car a lot more and that's a big step forward. The best thing for me is going to be looking at the data tonight. I know there are a couple places where I'll be able to make up a lot of time."