IRL: Kentucky: Panoz G Force preview

Panoz G Force Leaders Have Confidence on Kentucky Speedway's High Banks SPARTA, KY, 13 August 2004 - As the Indy Racing League enters the home stretch of the 16-race 2004 IndyCar Series campaign, one thing has become apparent: a Panoz...

Panoz G Force Leaders Have Confidence on Kentucky Speedway's High Banks

SPARTA, KY, 13 August 2004 - As the Indy Racing League enters the home stretch of the 16-race 2004 IndyCar Series campaign, one thing has become apparent: a Panoz G Force chassis combined with Honda engine is the package to have this year. Buddy Rice, driving the #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone racer from Rahal Letterman Racing has captured three victories in ten events held to date, including the 88th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, also recording victories at Kansas Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.

These next three weeks will be a telling time for the 22 combatants in this year's championship chase, as the Indy cars travel to three very different ovals. This weekend the challenge is to master the Belterra Casino Indy 300, held on the 1.5-mile banked Kentucky Speedway circuit. "We've been strong on the mile-and-a-half ovals," Rice acknowledged. "We stand a strong chance to go for the win."

Rice's teammate Vitor Meira, who hounded him to the checkers, losing out by the second smallest margin in IRL history (.0051 seconds) at the very similar Kansas Speedway last month, took part in a successful test at this track with his #15 Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda. The circuit was grinded to eliminate problematic bumps between last season and this, resulting in fastest lap times for all series to date. Meira expects speeds to be up for this 200-lap contest despite reconfigured undertrays, vertical wickers and smaller 3-liter engines fitted to the Indy cars this year. "The track is way better than last year and there are not as many bumps," Meira noted.

"Speedways appear to be our forte at the moment," agreed Panoz G Force designer Richard Wilks. "We have been strong on the longer tracks but we are still working on our short-oval setups. Both Buddy and Vitor's confidence shows in their driving this season and we look forward to a successful weekend for them and the balance of the Panoz G Force IRL family."

Buddy Rice lies second in the points chase, 57 behind leader Tony Kanaan while Meira, who missed the first two races of the year holds seventh place points with six races left to run. Race #11, the Belterra Casino Indy 300 airs live this Sunday afternoon at 3:30PM EDT on ABC.

The Panoz G Force is the sole IRL chassis designed and constructed wholly in the United States. It is utilized by seven of the 22 IndyCar Series competitors.

-pgf-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Rice , Vitor Meira