IRL: Indy 500: Panther Racing race report

Meira Collects Fourth Straight Indianapolis 500 Top Ten Matsuura Finishes 16th; Crash Leaves Andretti in 30th INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 27, 2007) -- Delphi Panther driver Vitor Meira made the most of his car during the 91st Running of the ...

Meira Collects Fourth Straight Indianapolis 500 Top Ten
Matsuura Finishes 16th; Crash Leaves Andretti in 30th

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 27, 2007) -- Delphi Panther driver Vitor Meira made the most of his car during the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, and a series of quick pit stops from his Panther crew secured the Brazilian his fourth consecutive Top Ten finish in the Indianapolis 500.

Super Aguri Panther driver Kosuke Matsuura battled with handling issues in his car and finished 16th, while team newcomer John Andretti crashed his Camping World Dallara near the mid-point of the race and finished 30th.

Meira struggled all month to get a handle on his No. 4 car, and qualified for the '500' in 19th position. During the race, he was much better and he received some much needed help from his pit crew. His crew helped him gain positions during each stop, and was running as high as fourth place during a red flag period for rain. After the break, Meira was able to battle and avoid several late-race caution flags, and held on for a tenth-place finish. This is the second year Vitor has finished tenth at Indy.

With his finish, Meira is now tenth in the IndyCar Series points standings as the team head to the Milwaukee Mile next weekend.

Matsuura's Panasonic team utilized the entire race to perfect the handling on Matsuura's No. 55 car. Despite climbing up to ninth by Lap 86, Kosuke's car was never perfectly balanced and he fought with a major push. The lack of front grip even caused Matsuura to while-wall his right-side tires in the north end of the racetrack. He battled his way to a 16th --place finish. Matsuura was the 2004 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year.

Andretti's return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was cut short after an impressive second week of practice. He qualified 24th, and was getting a handle on his No. 33 Camping World Dallara when his left-front mirror fell off during the event. Andretti pulled into the pits during the next yellow flag period and had the mirror replaced, but the team lost several laps. Once he returned to the track, he got into the marbles in Turn Two and struck the outside retaining wall. He finished 30th.

"It was a long and tough day in the Delphi car. The Panther crew really came through for me today, and that's what helped make a difference for us. We are the kings of comebacks and I feel like that's what we had today. I think I picked up spots on every pit stop. The team almost finished fourth during the first rain delay and that's was because of our good work in the pits. We've learned a lot this month and I think we've grown closer as a team. We're going to Milwaukee as strong as ever."

Kosuke Matsuura:

"It was a very frustrating day for me since I had so many problems with many things in many ways. I just wish I had more luck and was able to show better performances but the race is over so I have to refresh my mind and concentrate on the next race. Although I didn't have a good day as I wanted, I would like to thank the team for a hard work and support."

John Andretti:

"It's been a great experience to get back to Indy. Obviously your hopes and expectations are always higher than what this place gives. I'm disappointed, but overall this has been a great experience. I'd love to come back here again. Panther treated me really well and gave me a great car and I look forward to what the future might hold for us. Now I know a lot more about what I'm doing our here and will be much better prepared for next season."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers John Andretti , Kosuke Matsuura , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing