Iowa: Panther Racing qualifying notes

Dillon Battistini Nabs Front Row Starting Position for Jeld-Wen 100 NEWTON, Iowa. (June 20, 2008) -- Panther Racing had a busy first day at Iowa Speedway's 7/8-mile oval, where the team tested for this weekend's IndyCar Series race and...

Dillon Battistini Nabs Front Row Starting Position for Jeld-Wen 100

NEWTON, Iowa. (June 20, 2008) -- Panther Racing had a busy first day at Iowa Speedway's 7/8-mile oval, where the team tested for this weekend's IndyCar Series race and Panther's Firestone Indy Lights duo of Dillon Battistini and Brent Sherman both qualified inside the Top Five for tomorrow's Jeld-Wen 100.

Battistini continued his drive for the Firestone Indy Lights Championship, and the British driver qualified second and will start on the front row for tomorrow's race.

Dillon posted an average speed of 159.921 mph, and a combined total two-lap time 40.2498 seconds.

Delphi National Guard driver Brent Sherman secured his best starting position of the season after a fifth-place qualification effort Friday. The effort marks the team's best two-car qualification effort in its history. Now the duo will look to duplicate their efforts from Homestead-Miami Speedway, where both drivers secured podium finishes with Battistini winning the event.

Sherman's combined lap times of 40.3141 consisted of an average two-lap speed of 159.666 mph.

Dillon is the only driver in Indy Lights this season to win multiple races. He's been victorious at both Homestead and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the rookie secured Panther's first win in the Freedom 100. Tomorrow will mark the third time he has started on the front row (Homestead, Indianapolis) and it will be his fourth start from inside the Top Five.

Sherman topped his previous best start of seventh place, which he attained at both Kansas Speedway and Indianapolis. His third place result at Homestead was his best of the season. The former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver has continued to acclimate himself well to open-wheel racing and hopes his break-through victory comes at Iowa.

It was a day packed with on-track action that was interrupted briefly by a rain storm.

The IndyCar Series test session was shortened due to a rain shower that soaked that track this afternoon. Panther driver Vitor Meira was able to log 80 valuable laps before the rain ended the session early, and he finished 11th on the final speed chart.

Vitor's top speed was recorded at 181.051 mph, 17.7762 seconds.

The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will be broadcast live on ABC at 1 p.m. (ET) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, IndyCar.com and XM Satellite Radio channel 144 and 145.

Vitor Meira, No. 4 Delphi National Guard:

"We're working on getting through the bump in turns one and two. Once we get that handled we're going to be running well. We can tell by our lap times that once we can go flat through there we're going to be really quick. I'm comfortable. Turns three and four we're solid and everything is shaping up for a great weekend in the Delphi National Guard car. All year we've felt like Iowa and Richmond were going to be two of our best chances to win a race. Now it's time to back that up on the track."

Dillon Battistini, No. 15 AlexP Firestone Indy Lights:

"We ran two good clean laps. They weren't perfect. I made a small mistake in Turn 1 on the first lap, but it wasn't enough to cost me the pole. It is great to be on the front row. Hopefully we'll stay in that position at the start, and pass Arie during the race. The car is really good. It felt good in traffic today. We are in a strong position for the race. We have a good chance of winning. It is a long race and anything can happen. We just need to make it to the finish, hopefully ahead of my championship contenders."

Brent Sherman, No. 16 Delphi National Guard:

"After we tested here last week I was a little nervous because the car wasn't great, but when we ran today we started off fast without much drafting. I'm a little greedy and thought that I could have done better, but I'll take fifth. The key to race will be to get out front early. We weren't that great in traffic today. We've got to move toward the front quickly and stay out of the traffic and the junk. I am going to race guys hard and hopefully move up in the race."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Brent Sherman , Dillon Battistini , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing