Meira Carries Panoz G Force Honors in Delphi Indy 300 Practice at Chicagoland Speedway JOLIET, IL, 10 September 2004 - With only three races remaining in the 16- event Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season, the stakes are ...
Meira Carries Panoz G Force Honors in Delphi Indy 300 Practice at Chicagoland Speedway
JOLIET, IL, 10 September 2004 - With only three races remaining in the 16- event Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season, the stakes are getting higher for all 22 drivers and their teams. After two practice sessions today in preparation for the Delphi Indy 300 on Sunday, Vitor Meira secured the best Panoz G Force ranking, second place with his lap of 215.851mph in the #17 Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda.
Meira was glad "to be back on the 1.5-mile oval after a couple of short track races. I like this Chicagoland Speedway track because we are able to run many lines here." As is customary for his team, Meira worked on qualifying in the morning and race trim this afternoon, turning a total of 68 laps. "Everything seemed pretty good and now it's time to get ready for qualifying."
Meira's Rahal Letterman Racing teammate Buddy Rice, winner of the 88th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race was fourth in the #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda, posting a lap of 215.667mph, also on this warm, sunny Friday afternoon. Rice, currently third in the points race, just four ducats behind Dan Wheldon, "ran through our program today with both qualifying and race setups, and I'm pretty pleased with how things went." Knowing that "qualifying doesn't mean a lot at this place, it's all about race positioning and getting in the proper place at the proper time," Rice believes he's prepared to take a shot at victory in Sunday's 200-lap race.
"This track is very similar in configuration to both Kansas and Kentucky. We run the same setup with a 12-degree wing angle," noted Panoz G Force chief designer Simon Marshall. "The parts we run here are similar to those used at the other two tracks; we've found that our design works particularly well on this type of circuit."
In the IRL's fourth visit to this track, Scott Dixon turned the seventh- quickest lap of the day in his #1 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota at 215.332mph and remarked, "The Panoz G Force is pretty good but we're looking to get a bit more speed out of it right now. There's a tail wind on the backstretch and the bump will make it a bit tricky for qualifying."
Belterra Casino Indy 300 winner Adrian Fernandez earned ninth overall with his lap of 214.582mph in the #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda, marking the Mexican's first time at this track. Fernandez likes his opportunities Sunday on a circuit so similar to Kentucky, where he captured his first IndyCar Series victory.
Single-car qualifying for the Delphi Indy 300 occurs tomorrow at 11AM CDT, while the race is set to take the green flags Sunday at 12:30PM CDT and will air live on ABC.