St. Pete: Panther Racing qualifying report

Vitor Qualifies 17th for Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Delphi National Guard Driver Hopes to Repeat 2005, 2006 Performance at St. Pete HOMESTEAD, Fla. (April 5, 2008) -- Vitor Meira has two Top Five finishes on the Streets of St.

Vitor Qualifies 17th for Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Delphi National Guard Driver Hopes to Repeat 2005, 2006 Performance at St. Pete

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (April 5, 2008) -- Vitor Meira has two Top Five finishes on the Streets of St. Petersburg, and neither came with the benefit of a Top Ten start. During the new knockout qualification format on Saturday afternoon, Meira was eliminated during the first round and will start 17th in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg tomorrow.

The Delphi National Guard driver will attempt to duplicate his efforts from 2005 and 2006 tomorrow in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, where he started outside the first ten positions and drove his way through the field into fifth place.

In his first year with Panther Meira started in 12th position and methodically worked his way into fifth place. The year previous, in 2005, Vitor started and finished in the same positions in his final season with Rahal-Letterman Racing.

Panther enters its fourth year of competition at the street course facility, with a best start of eighth (Tomas Scheckter, 2005) and finish of fifth (Meira, 2006). Meira currently ranks tenth in the IndyCar Series championship battle after he finished in the same position last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The team has won a total of 15 IndyCar Series victories, all on oval circuits. The team's best finish on a road or street course facility was Meira's second place finish at Watkins Glen International Raceway in 2006 in the rain. He finished third later that season at Infineon Raceway.

Vitor Meira:

"It just takes some time for the Delphi National Guard car to get up to speed. A little more tire pressure would have helped us, I was loose on the first couple runs and we thought they would get up to temp on a longer run. We know our car is good, and it just gets better and better every lap, which means good things for the race, but we didn't want to start this far back. We know we can get there. A lot happens during this race and I've made it to the front before here. This isn't where we wanted to start, but everybody on the Panther team is still positive."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing