Vitor Meira Comes Back From Two Laps Down for 10th in Indy 500 Panther Driver Gets Third Consecutive Top Ten Finish INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 28, 2006) -- Harrah's Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira overcame an early two-lap deficit en route...
Vitor Meira Comes Back From Two Laps Down for 10th in Indy 500
Panther Driver Gets Third Consecutive Top Ten Finish
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 28, 2006) -- Harrah's Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira overcame an early two-lap deficit en route to a tenth place finish in the 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The result marked Meira's third consecutive Top Ten finish and the second year in row Panther has left the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a Top Ten result.
The team started from the outside of the second row -- its best career qualification effort at Indy -- and Meira was strong from the outset. He moved quickly from his starting position of sixth to fourth by the 18th lap of the race. His No. 4 Honda got extremely loose as the race progressed, and Vitor pitted early on Lap 61 to make an adjustment to his rear wing. Shortly following his stop, a crash involving Tomas Scheckter kept the Meira off the lead lap.
The untimely caution period forced Panther all the way down to the 16th position, but Meira was able to climb back up the grid. It was Lap 192 by the time Vitor got back on the lead lap, while in tenth place, the same position where he finished the race.
Meira's was the final car to complete all 200 laps of the event. He is now in 10th place in the IndyCar Series points standings, just 11 points out of sixth place.
The 90th Indianapolis 500 was won by former Panther driver Sam Hornish Jr., who spent three seasons driving for Panther Racing. Hornish won 11 races in the No. 4 Panther car.
The IndyCar Series season resumes next weekend from Watkins Glen International Raceway. The race will be held on Sunday, June 4th with coverage available live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. (EDT), on the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio Channel 145.
Vitor Meira Quote:
"We got two laps behind after some bad luck early, and that's not easy to overcome here at Indianapolis. We had to come in early on our first pit stop because the car got so evil on me and we were losing too much time. Then when the yellow came out (for Tomas Scheckter's accident) it put us in a big hole. I think it says a lot about how great this team was on strategy. We took 100% of what we had, and we've still only been together for three months now, and we're racing against a lot of people that have been working together for several years. The heat was pretty intense; I've never run this much downforce at Indianapolis. This year was amazing. I got overwhelmed when we crossed the tunnel here and I saw the crowd and everybody cheering. It's a big deal, and it's really good to be here. The car was really quick for me at the end, and honestly, I can't wait to come back here again next year with Panther Racing."