WATKINS GLEN, NY July 4-- Watkins Glen International is the most historic road course on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule and at 3.4 miles, it is also the longest. It is a track at which Vitor Meira and the ABC Supply team have fared well and this weekend, they had hoped to have their best finish yet! That would have been a victory because Meira and the ABC Supply No. 14 car have both finished second at the Glen but not together.
Despite the positive momentum of two straight top-10 finishes going into the July 4th weekend, the ABC Racing team came away from the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen with a 19th place finish. Meira slipped back to 13th in the standings.
The problems for the Foyt team started on Friday when the car's initial setup was not as strong as it's been as it has since the Long Beach race in April. Despite only an hour of scheduled practice on Friday, the ABC Supply team made significant progress in getting the car more to Meira's liking.
In Saturday's practice before qualifying, there was a fuel pump failure which cut that hour-long practice down to 40 minutes for Meira. To replace the fuel pump, the team had to pull the Honda engine which they had planned to do after qualifying because it was on schedule to be replaced for the race.
With two options for qualifying still on the table, they decided on one and sent Meira out to qualify. The car was better but Meira's best lap of 132.722mph put him 17th on the grid. Following the Sunday morning warm-up where he'd wound up 13th and happy with the ABC Supply car, Meira was optimistic about another top-10 finish for the race.
Meira worked his way up to 14th by the first round of pit stops on lap 18 during a full course yellow because of Dan Wheldon's spin. The crew had a problem with the new fuel probe (this was its debut race) and Meira had to pit a lap later because the car only took seven gallons. When it took only seven gallons again, the crew replaced the fuel probe with another which worked fine for the rest of the race. But their fate was cast and Meira sped around the track half a lap behind the pack despite running laps on pace with the leaders.
Hope came in the form of another full course yellow on lap 40 for Simona DeSilvestro. Meira pitted and took on a set of slightly used red alternate tires. Meira knew after two laps he was in trouble because the car had too much push so he soldiered on, finishing the race without incident.
"Not a very good day for Foyt Racing, ABC and me," Meira said. "We had a good car -- not the best car of the season but it was a good car. We unloaded and made a lot of progress during the practices but there was not enough time. Then we had troubles on the pit stops which didn't help. It's been hard to pass here so it's a weekend to take what we have and learn from it and go for the next one. There's not much else positive you can get out of this weekend. Still, it's one race, one battle, and we have the whole war."
Pole winner Will Power won the race for Team Penske with teammate Ryan Briscoe and Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti sharing the podium. The next race on schedule is the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, July 18th.
-source: aj foyt racing