Meira Set to Continue Championship Points Climb in Detroit GP After Moving Up Seven Spots in Five Races, Panther Looks for More in Belle Isle INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 27, 2008) -- Panther Racing has been on a roll in the last five races, and...
Meira Set to Continue Championship Points Climb in Detroit GP
After Moving Up Seven Spots in Five Races, Panther Looks for More in Belle Isle
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 27, 2008) -- Panther Racing has been on a roll in the last five races, and the team and driver Vitor Meira look to continue their hot streak this weekend in the Detroit Indy Grand Prix. Notes from the team and a quote Meira, the team's Delphi National Guard driver, are attached below:
* Meira, Panther Skyrocket In Points:
As Vitor exited the Watkins Glen race in early July, he sat all the way back in 18th position in the IndyCar Series points championship. Five races later, a run that includes finishing no worse than seventh in four of the five events, Meira has jumped seven spots and sits in 11th position, and is well within reach of several competitors in the Top Ten. Panther currently sits just 14 points behind Andretti Green Racing driver Hideki Mutoh in eighth place, and 26 points behind seventh place Marco Andretti.
* Putting the "Hero" in Hero Card:
At every track this season, Panther honors a local member of the National Guard by naming a "hero" for each event. This National Guardsmen has his photo and bio placed on the team's autograph cards (traditionally called "Hero Cards") and sits with driver Vitor Meira during the league's autograph session, signing his side of the card along with Meira. For the event this weekend, Detroit native 2LT Clarence Ketterer was selected as the team's hero. 2LT Ketterer graduated from East Detroit High School and has twice been deployed overseas for Operation Enduring Freedom, most recently in 2005 and was stationed in Habbaniyah, Iraq, where he conducted combat operations, raids and patrols against anti-Iraqi forces. For his service, 2LT Ketterer has received the Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device for Heroism, the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Airborne Badge and the Air Assault Badge. 2LT Ketterer is actually getting married on Friday to his fiance, Arianne, and the two will attend the race together on Sunday. It's a Honeymoon at the Detroit GP.
* Crewmen with Michigan Ties:
Panther Chief Mechanic Dan Miller is originally from Ida, Michigan and Shock Engineer Nick Franzosi is from West Branch, Michigan. Franzosi is also works on the race day pit crew and operates the air jack during Meira's pit stops.
* Where We've Been:
Last weekend at Infineon Raceway, Vitor used a early race out-of-sequence pit stop to help elevate the No. 4 Delphi National Guard team from its 18th place starting position and into a seventh place finish. In the closing laps Meira made a run at sixth-place finisher E.J. Viso, but his car had completely lost its rear brake pads, allowing Viso to slip out of reach as the field took the checkered flag.
Vitor Meira, No. 4 Delphi National Guard Honda Dallara:
"We've moved up seven spots in the championship in the last month, and the Panther guys are excited to continue our momentum this weekend in Detroit. We feel like we could finish as high as seventh if we continue to do well. The team was doing well at Belle Isle last year, but we got caught up in the big crash in turn one during one of the restarts. It was a shame, but (2007 teammate) Kosuke (Matsuura) was able to finish Top Five, so I think that says a lot about the package we'll have this weekend. The course is a challenge and very narrow, but that's where the best drivers and teams have success. The entire Delphi National Guard team is on a roll right now, and we want to keep our focus and continue to make up for the bad luck we had earlier in the season. Everything has been working for us--the setups, the pits stops and the strategy--so we've back to the point where we're excited for the possibilities at every track where we race."