Battistini Finishes Fourth in St. Pete; Gains Seventeen Positions During Race; Sherman Keeps It Clean, Finishes 13th ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Panther Racing Firestone Indy Lights driver Dillon Battistini turned the tables on a bad start in St.
Battistini Finishes Fourth in St. Pete; Gains Seventeen Positions During Race; Sherman Keeps It Clean, Finishes 13th
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Panther Racing Firestone Indy Lights driver Dillon Battistini turned the tables on a bad start in St. Petersburg, where he climbed a momentous 17 positions to secure a fourth-place finish in the second and final race of the weekend. Teammate Brent Sherman gained spots throughout the afternoon as well, moving from his 17th place starting position into a 13th-place finish.w
The result propelled Battistini into third place in the Firestone Indy Lights point standings. Sherman moved up to the seventh position, leaving both Panther teammates in the thick of the championship hunt with the bulk of the season ahead.
The drivers benefited from a myriad of crashes and caution periods. Battistini made several passes early in the event, but was then able to gain a bulk of his positions as competitors in front of him crashed. Both he and Sherman kept their noses clean as time after time drivers crashed into one another.
Both Indy Lights drivers will test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, April 11th. It will be the first experience on Indy's daunting 2.5-mile oval. Panther won at Indianapolis last season in Indy Lights, but it was on the road course during the Formula One weekend. Former team driver Hideki Mutoh finished fifth last season in the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis, and Mark Taylor finished third in the same event in 2003.
The Firestone Indy Lights season will resume on April 27th at Kansas Speedway, where Panther won the 2003 Lights race with Mark Taylor.
"I'm pleased to come away with that result after the way my weekend's gone on. I thought I was just having one of those weekends where nothing could possibly go right. But luckily, I just managed to pick them off in that race. I kept my nose clean and let everybody else park it in the wall. I'm quite pleased with myself. Yesterday was a bit of disaster. I was going forward, but then I punched a hole in my oil cooler and it started spraying oil all over my rear tire. So I started to drop back and then eventually lost oil pressure and had to retire. It was a bit of a comedown after last weekend, but we've salvaged something today so it's nice to finish it on a bit of a high."
"I know we all wanted better this weekend. But I'm learning and I'm getting better. This was my first street course and we got progressively better over the weekend. I ran into trouble during the first big crash in Turn Four. Those guys had the track blocked so I ended up in the runoff area and had to put it in reverse and get restarted. We survived and we're going to be strong in the next string of races."