Texas: Panther Racing qualifying report

Texas: Meira Qualifies Ninth for Bombardier Learjet 550 Delphi National Guard Team Looks for Its Sixth Texas Victory Saturday Night FORT WORTH, Tex. (June 6, 2008) -- Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira will start tomorrow night's Bombardier ...

Texas: Meira Qualifies Ninth for Bombardier Learjet 550
Delphi National Guard Team Looks for Its Sixth Texas Victory Saturday Night

FORT WORTH, Tex. (June 6, 2008) -- Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira will start tomorrow night's Bombardier Learjet 550 in the ninth position, the team's best qualification effort at Texas Motor Speedway since 2005, when then-drivers Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge shared the front row. That also marked Panther's last win at Texas, where Scheckter was victorious and Enge set the fastest lap of the race.

Vitor's four-lap average speed was 212.501 mph, which was comprised of laps of 212.605, 212.882, 212.320, and 212.199 mph. He will start on the inside of the fifth row, alongside Rahal-Letterman Racing driver Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon captured the pole position, and will be joined in the front row by Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves. Former Panther driver Hideki Mutoh will start in fourth position.

Meira has been successful at Texas for his entire career, including his two starts here with Panther. In 2006, he was running in fourth position on the last lap until he ran out of fuel as he exited the final corner. Two cars slipped by his bright orange Panther Honda, but he still managed to come home in sixth place. Last season, Meira avoided several close calls during the race and managed a fifth place finish, one of three Top Fives he had last year.

Vitor was the polesitter at Texas in 2002, in what was just his fourth start in the IndyCar Series. Meira finished third that day, just behind then-Panther driver Sam Hornish, Jr. and Castroneves, as the two dueled for the league title. Hornish and Panther were victorious and clinched their second consecutive title that day, but their future driver had proved his skill on the same day.

Vitor Meira, No. 4 Delphi National Guard:

"Our qualification run was OK. We need to find a little bit more speed for our qualification runs, but in Texas you have to have a good racecar, and we know we do. I'd like to be a little bit faster, but tomorrow we'll all see who's quick really early in the race. It's difficult dealing with the wind, but like I said yesterday, that's something that everybody here has to battle with. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I love night races and I've always enjoyed Texas, so this is going to be a good race."

-credit: garra

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tomas Enge , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Hideki Mutoh , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske