Homestead: Panther Racing qualifying report

Meira Will Begin New Open-Wheel Era from 12th Place at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 28, 2008) -- Vitor Meira will lead Panther Racing and his Delphi National Guard team into a new era of open-wheel racing tomorrow from 12th position at ...

Meira Will Begin New Open-Wheel Era from 12th Place at Homestead

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 28, 2008) -- Vitor Meira will lead Panther Racing and his Delphi National Guard team into a new era of open-wheel racing tomorrow from 12th position at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he qualified for the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300. Meira, entering his third season with Panther, started in the 10th position here last year and climbed into a fourth place finish.

The team has previously won back-to-back races at Homestead, in 2001 and 2002, the same seasons it won the IndyCar Series championship.

Meira's No. 4 car was loose during early practice sessions on Friday, but changes prior to the second practice of the day left the team's driver comfortable in the cockpit and his speeds showed steady improvement. In Meira's three previous starts on Homestead's 1.5-mile oval, he has collected two Top Five results, both fourth place finishes. His other start resulted in a DNF when he had a mechanical failure on the ninth lap in his first start in the No. 4 car in 2006. He rebounded that season to finish fifth in the championship standings.

Aside from unification, one of the biggest changes this season is that qualifications at oval tracks are determined by a four-lap average, opposed to years' past when the starting grid was determined by the quickest of two laps. Vitor posted an average four-lap qualification speed of 210.315 mph, and his total time elapsed was 1:41.6762.

Vitor will start from the outside of the sixth row.

Vitor Meira: "Today is the start of a long season for us and we're happy with our progress in the Delphi National Guard car. We didn't have a lot of track time today, but our guys have been working hard to have us prepared for a good race tomorrow, and that's what we all expect. We qualified tenth here last season and fought our way into fourth, so we've got high expectations for tomorrow night. This is an exciting time for everybody in the IndyCar Series."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing