Miami: Scheckter Grabs Pole Position; Enge 3rd HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- With its best qualification effort since 2003, and the highest starting spots with a two-car lineup, Panther Racing grabbed the pole and third place on the grid Saturday....
Miami: Scheckter Grabs Pole Position; Enge 3rd
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- With its best qualification effort since 2003, and the highest starting spots with a two-car lineup, Panther Racing grabbed the pole and third place on the grid Saturday. IndyCar Series veteran Tomas Scheckter will start from the pole Sunday in the Toyota Indy 300, where his lap of 215.115 mph, 24.8518 seconds was tops among the 22 cars that qualified by nearly one mile per hour.
Tomas Enge -- who was the top rookie qualifier -- will start from the 3rd position, which will be his career best starting spot in the Indy Racing League. He ran a lap time of 214.152 mph, 24.9636 seconds. His previous best was a 15th-place start, which was recorded last year at Texas Motor Speedway when he was driving for Patrick Racing. This will be his first start for Panther and the race debut of the new #2 ROCKSTAR Panther Chevrolet.
This is Scheckter's first pole as a member of Panther Racing, and his 6th career IndyCar Series pole position. His last start from the top spot came in 2003 at Michigan while Scheckter was with Chip Ganassi Racing. Tomas finished the 2004 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 5th, which was his best result of the season.
The last time Panther Racing started from the pole they recorded a dominant victory at Kentucky Speedway in 2003 with Sam Hornish, Jr. behind the wheel of the #4 Pennzoil Chevy. This will be the best starting positions for Panther since they expanded to a two-car lineup, the previous best was at Miami last year, when Scheckter started 3rd and then-rookie Mark Taylor qualified in 6th.
The race starts at 2 p.m. (EST) on ESPN, with a special in-car camera broadcast on ESPN2.
"Last year I had to make excuses for bad things that were happening to us, and now it feels great to come out here and say, 'Good job.' This means so much to me because I've seen how hard our guys work and how hard Chevrolet has worked during the offseason. All I heard about before the season started was how Chevy wasn't going to do well this season, and it's nice to throw it back in everybody's face and sit on the pole. This is a great feeling. All I did yesterday was run full tanks, and we were still in the top three on speed, and I know I'm going to have a great racecar tomorrow. We all know the main thing is the race, but everybody knows this team has great race setups, and we're all looking forward to tomorrow."
"I didn't believe I would reach 214 mph, when my engineer Andy Borme told me before qualifications that we were going to go that fast, I said, 'No way.' Everybody on Panther has surprised me and they continue to surprise me, and today they did it again. Chevrolet has improved even from the test here and a lot from last year. The car keeps getting better and better and I'm getting better and better. We know what happens tomorrow is all that matters, but I've got to thank my engineers and the team for this great result."