Scheckter Comes Up Two Laps Short in Japan MOTEGI, Japan -- Panther Racing driver Tomas Scheckter did everything in his power to win the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 Saturday at Twin Ring Motegi. Scheckter held a commanding lead for 47 laps but...
Scheckter Comes Up Two Laps Short in Japan
MOTEGI, Japan -- Panther Racing driver Tomas Scheckter did everything in his power to win the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 Saturday at Twin Ring Motegi. Scheckter held a commanding lead for 47 laps but his Pennzoil Chevrolet ran out of fuel with just two laps remaining in the 200-lap event. The IndyCar Series veteran still pulled out a 10th-place finish, which is his best result of the 2005 season.
Scheckter started in sixth place and settled into the Top Five during the accident-riddled first stage of the race. The 24-year-old stayed out of trouble and entered the pits in sixth place on Lap 141, when he pitted for fuel. The Pennzoil pit crew had their best stop of the day and Tomas jumped from 6th up to 2nd place.
After a restart on Lap 151 Scheckter's Chevrolet powered past Dan Wheldon on the backstretch of the 1.5-mile oval and Panther remained at the front of the pack. He continued to conserve fuel while he remained in the lead, but the tank ran dry on Lap 198 as the team made every attempt to put their Chevy in Victory Lane.
Panther Racing has led laps in three of the four IndyCar Series events this season.
Tomas Enge did not compete in the race because of broken ribs suffered during qualifications on Friday. Enge was not cleared by the Indy Racing League medical staff to compete in the event. He will be re-evaluated when he returns to Indianapolis on Monday to determine his status for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Rookie Orientation Program.
The Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 will be tape-delay broadcast on ESPN at noon (EST) on Saturday in the United States.
""We thought we were good on fuel, and didn't know we wouldn't make it until it was too late. It's a pity for everybody - our Panther guys, Pennzoil, Chevrolet and RockStar. It's too bad the race ended up this way, but we'll get it together for Indianapolis, and I look forward to my teammate (Tomas Enge) getting back on track. It hurts now because the car was unbelievable and our Chevy power almost ruined the other engine manufacturers' party over here. I was almost flat through three and four simply because my engineering crew is awesome. And heading into Indianapolis the motorsports world knows that Chevy has come to win. Everybody associated with Panther Racing did a great job this entire weekend."