IRL: Michigan: Panther Racing preview

Panther Looks to Jump One Spot at Michigan International Speedway Team Looks to Improve Upon Two Second Place Results at MIS BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 3, 2007) -- On two occasions in the past four years, Panther Racing's No. 4 car has finished...

Panther Looks to Jump One Spot at Michigan International Speedway
Team Looks to Improve Upon Two Second Place Results at MIS

BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 3, 2007) -- On two occasions in the past four years, Panther Racing's No. 4 car has finished just short of victory at Michigan International Speedway's thrilling two-mile oval. Now, as the team rolls into the track with a driver lineup that includes Vitor Meira and Kosuke Matsuura, its hoping to gain one more position for its first Michigan victory.

Delphi driver Meira led 75 laps at MIS last season, the most he led in any single event in 2006, before finishing second. Panther's driver started sixth in the race and picked his way through the field before climbing into the lead. He led for a bulk of the race before eventual winner Helio Castroneves pulled ahead of him during green flag pit stops. Meira was able to power through a pile of back-markers to keep the pressure on Castroneves, but was never able to catch up to his fellow Brazilian for the battle.

"I was very aggressive," Castroneves said after the race of trying to fend off Meira. "With 10 (laps) to go, I thought everything was good, but I saw an orange dot in my mirror, and I couldn't believe (Meira) caught us like that."

Sam Hornish Jr. finished second here in 2003 to winner Alex Barron in the seventh closest finish in league history. That year, Panther missed out on its first IndyCar Series victory at MIS by just 0.0121 of a second.

The team won the Indy Pro Series event here in 2003 with Mark Taylor.

Kosuke Matsuura finished ninth here last season, his best finish at MIS. The Japanese driver started on the front row during his rookie campaign in 2004, his best career starting position. Matsuura finished 12th at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago and recorded his best finish of the season at Watkins Glen (eighth position) earlier this year. His strongest oval result was ninth place at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Firestone Indy 400 will be broadcast live on ESPN2 Sunday at noon (EDT) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio channels 144 and 145.

Vitor Meira:

"We had a great car here last year and this weekend we're rolling the same car out on the track for the race. So hopefully it's just a strong this weekend. This is a great track and I don't know what's happening behind the scenes but hopefully something can get worked out and we can race here again. This place is too good not to. I've always thought Michigan shows the best of what the IndyCar Series has to offer, and we prove that every time we run here."

Kosuke Matsuura:

"This is quite a big track but I'm happy and excited to drive the Panasonic car here with Super Aguri Panther Racing. Our results are getting better and that is very good for us. The team has done well here in the past and I hope that will be the case for the No. 55 guys this weekend. I'm excited about the race on Sunday."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Helio Castroneves , Alex Barron , Kosuke Matsuura , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing