IPS: Kentucky: Panther Racing qualifying report

Mutoh Wins Pole Position for Kentucky Speedway Pro Series Race Meira Starts 12th; Matsuura Will Roll Off in 17th SPARTA, Ky. (August 10, 2007) -- For the second time in as many starts, Panther Racing has put its Indy Pro Series car on pole ...

Mutoh Wins Pole Position for Kentucky Speedway Pro Series Race
Meira Starts 12th; Matsuura Will Roll Off in 17th

SPARTA, Ky. (August 10, 2007) -- For the second time in as many starts, Panther Racing has put its Indy Pro Series car on pole position at Kentucky Speedway. But now the team hopes that, unlike its last pole at Kentucky in 2003, the driver will start the race.

It was during Mark Taylor's IPS championship season for Panther that he captured the pole at Kentucky, but the Englishman became ill the following morning and was unable to start the event.

Hideki Mutoh has no plans to skip tomorrow's race, and instead is making reservations for Victory Lane.

Mutoh posted a lap of 191.276 mph, 27.8551 seconds -- shattering the IPS track record - Friday during qualifications for tomorrow night's Kentucky 100 race, putting him at the front of the grid for the first time on an oval track.

Hideki hopes that today's pole position fairs as well as his last. His only other career pole position came earlier this year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Mutoh started from the point and led every lap to collect his first career victory in the first race of the Liberty Challenge. Tomorrow's Kentucky 100 will prove to be a tough challenge, as current points leader Alex Lloyd will start outside the front row.

Mutoh currently ranks seconds in the championship standings behind Lloyd, and Panther's driver looks forward to the challenge of beating the points leader on an oval track.

The Japanese driver will make his IndyCar Series debut at Chicagoland Speedway driving Super Aguri Panther Racing's No. 60 Formula Dream Panther Honda Dallara. In 12 starts this season, Mutoh has collected six podium, nine Top Five and 11 Top Ten results. Milwaukee is the only track Mutoh has not finished.

Delphi Panther driver Vitor Meira will roll off in 12th position after he posted a qualification lap of 213.518 mph, 24.9534 seconds. Kentucky is a special track for Vitor, who made his first career start here in 2002 with Team Menard. He finished in sixth place here last year with Panther.

Kosuke Matsuura qualified 17th with a quick lap of 213.518 mph, 24.9534 seconds. Matsuura is fresh of a fourth-place finish at Michigan, which equaled his career-best effort attained at Kentucky in 2004. He will start tomorrow in search of his second Top Five and fourth Top Ten finish this season. His other Top Ten result from an oval track came at Texas Motor Speedway in June, where he finished ninth.

Vitor Meira:

"Our qualification effort was good. Honestly, the Panther team always wants to be doing better. It's been a great effort from the Delphi and Panther crew to get this car ready for the weekend after the crash in Michigan. We've been racing better than we qualified all year, and that will be the case here tomorrow. I like Kentucky, this is a special place for me, and I hope to make it even more successful tomorrow.

Kosuke Matsuura:

"I was able to run well at the practice session but I just couldn't get much speed at qualifying. We will have a meeting tonight and hopefully we will be able to find a good setup for tomorrow. I like the track and I like night races so hopefully I get to move up the position and finish in the better position."

Hideki Mutoh:

"First of all I would like to thank the team for giving me a great car today. The car was great and I did my best to get my first pole position at the oval track. I tested here at Kentucky speedway last week and it helped me a lot. It will be my fist night race at the oval track so I am looking forward to it and will do my best to keep my position."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Kosuke Matsuura , Alex Lloyd , Hideki Mutoh , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing