Texas: Panther Racing race report

Meira Leads 38 Laps; Climbs Up Chart to Seventh at Texas Delphi National Guard Team Falls to Back, Then Drives to Front on 1.5-mile Oval FORT WORTH, Tex. (June 7, 2008) -- In his bid to give Panther Racing its sixth victory at Texas Motor ...

Meira Leads 38 Laps; Climbs Up Chart to Seventh at Texas
Delphi National Guard Team Falls to Back, Then Drives to Front on 1.5-mile Oval

FORT WORTH, Tex. (June 7, 2008) -- In his bid to give Panther Racing its sixth victory at Texas Motor Speedway, driver Vitor Meira started at the front of field, fell all the way to the back, and then drove into the lead of the Bombardier Learjet 550 Saturday night. Meira, who started in the ninth position, overcame a mistake on a pit stop to lead the field on the high-banked 1.5-mile oval, and finished seventh after a late-race pit stop for fuel.

At the start Vitor climbed quickly to the Top Five by the 22nd lap of the race. During his second pit stop of the race, on Lap 41, a complication forced the team to fall all the way back to 24th place, and Meira's climb back to the front began. After a series of yellow flags, the team ducked back into the pits on Lap 57 for fuel only, and with the team off-sequence from the leaders and with the car handling well, Meira was able to gain valuable positions.

During a yellow on Lap 166, the leaders of the race pitted and Meira's climb to the front of the field was complete. A restart on lap 176 saw Vitor's No. 4 Delphi National Guard car remain in the lead and pull further and further into the lead. He stayed at the front of the pack for 38 laps until he pitted for the final time on Lap 207 for fuel and tires.

The team ended the day in seventh position after a crash involving Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay concluded the event. Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon was the race winner, with Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe in second and third place, respectively.

With his performance Saturday, Meira captured his third Top Ten finish and led laps for the second time in the last three events, including the Indianapolis 500. The team moved into 12th position in the IndyCar Series points standings with the result, just 12 points out of the seventh position.

The IndyCar Series will have one weekend off prior to traveling to Iowa Speedway.

Vitor Meira, No. 4 Delphi National Guard:

"Our car was just awesome when we were running up front. The team made one fuel-only stop early in the race, so we were about 10 laps off-sequence. But otherwise we were really good. The Delphi National Guard car was skating on me a little bit in traffic, but everybody saw how good we were once we got to the front. I was pulling away. This is another good race for us and another step forward. The confidence level at Panther is really, really high right now."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing