IRL: Michigan: Panther Racing Saturday report

Bell Starts 8th, Scheckter 14th BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Townsend Bell has finished his last two Indy Racing League events inside the Top Ten, and that's right where he'll start the Michigan Indy 400 at Michigan International Raceway on Sunday. The ...

Bell Starts 8th, Scheckter 14th

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Townsend Bell has finished his last two Indy Racing League events inside the Top Ten, and that's right where he'll start the Michigan Indy 400 at Michigan International Raceway on Sunday. The 29-year-old American, in only his first season in the IRL, will start eighth after posting a qualification run of 213.852 mph, 33.6681 seconds. Pennzoil Panther driver Tomas Scheckter got into the rev limiter during his run, and completed a lap speed of 213.146 mph, 33.7796 seconds. Tomas will start 14th. Bell and Scheckter represent the top two Chevrolet qualifiers for the race.

Scheckter was victorious at MIS during his rookie season of 2002, and finished 3rd at the Michigan Indy 400 last season. The Pennzoil Panther Chevy was just ahead of Scheckter last season, in a second place photo finish. Townsend will be making his second career start at MIS, and his first as a member of the IRL. His only other start at the two-mile oval came in Indy Lights in 2000, the season in which he was named Rookie of the Year.

Tomas Scheckter:

"Our Chevy had a little bit more power than we expected, so we hit the hard limiter on the back straight. We didn't quite hit the gearing right. It probably cost us half a mile per hour. Other than that, we feel really good about our race setup. We were as quick as anybody yesterday. The Pennzoil guys are going to work hard to turn this car around, and we'll get ready for tomorrow's race. We're not too far off right now, so we're looking forward to it."

Townsend Bell:

"We had a good run -- Chevy is all about winning so we're right where we need to be. We're getting better every race, and Panther gives me a great car every single time out there. We ran into some problems yesterday in the Menards/Johns Manville car, but we rolled out the back-up and bounced right back today. The car felt excellent in traffic this morning, so I know when tomorrow gets here we're going to be right back into the thick of things."

Panther Tracks: John Paul, Jr. is spotting this weekend for Pennzoil Panther driver Tomas Scheckter. Paul scored a victory at Michigan in an IndyCar in 1983. He also took home a win at Texas Motor Speedway in 1998 .... Townsend Bell has finished as the top Chevrolet driver in each of his last two races ... Townsend was Indy Lights Rookie of the Year in 2000, and the series champion in 2001 ... Panther Racing has been involved in six of the Top Ten closest finishes in IRL history -- winning five ... Since joining the league in 1998, Panther has 33 podium finishes, 43 Top Fives and 54 Top Tens ... In 98 IRL starts, the Panther Pack has led laps in 44 races, just short of 45 percent ... The team's 2,448 laps led is second only to Team Menard ... If both Panther Chevrolets finish the race, it will mark over 25,000 miles completed in Panther history .... Panther Racing won back-to-back IRL Championships in 2001 & 2002, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Championship in 2003, and is the league leader in victories for both series: IRL (14 wins) and IPS (7 wins) ... A total of nine drivers have started a race for Panther: Sam Hornish Jr. (44), Scott Goodyear (30), Tomas Scheckter (9), Mark Taylor (6), Townsend Bell (3), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).

-www.pantherracing.com

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Robby McGehee , Billy Boat , Townsend Bell , Dan Wheldon , Dave Steele , John Paul , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing