IRL: Nazareth: Panther Racing Saturday report

Panther Racing Starts Nazareth Nose-to-Tail NAZARETH, Penn. - Panther Racing is preparing to make another charge from the middle of the pack Sunday in the Firestone Indy 225, where the march will begin from the 11th and 13th positions. This...

Panther Racing Starts Nazareth Nose-to-Tail

NAZARETH, Penn. - Panther Racing is preparing to make another charge from the middle of the pack Sunday in the Firestone Indy 225, where the march will begin from the 11th and 13th positions. This will be the sixth time in 12 starts that the Panther Chevrolets will start the race nose-to-tail. The Panther duo represents the top two Chevrolet qualifiers.

Tomas Scheckter will lead the Panther storm from 11th, as he posted a best qualifying lap of 164.358 mph, 20.4797 seconds. Townsend Bell will be right behind his veteran teammate, after a lap time of 163.749 mph, 20.5558 seconds. Bell finished 12th last week at Pikes Peak, and has finished inside the Top Ten in half of his six Indy Racing League starts.

Scheckter has started each of the last three races in 13th, and wasted no time climbing to the front in each contest. The yellow #4 has been capable of winning every time, reaching second place in Michigan, first in Kentucky and second again last weekend at Pikes Peak International Raceway. However, every one of those runs has come to an abrupt end, all because of elements out of Tomas' control.

Tomas Scheckter:

"This is a great track and qualifying is important. I don't think we had the perfect run. There might have been a little bit left in our Chevrolet, but I think this is all we could have expected. We've always had great racecars here.

(Regarding his bad luck): "I've changed my boot colors around any my glove colors, but it hasn't made a bit of a difference. Now I've got a bobble-head of Dave Despain and I taped it to the timing stand. I gave it a kiss this morning and I told Dave (while appearing on WINDTUNNEL on Tuesday) I'd give him a kiss everyday if it brought me good luck."

Townsend Bell:

"I ran here several years ago in the Barber Dodge series, and the track hasn't changed much since then. Tommy (Scheckter) and I are the two top Chevys, and we'll start the race nose-to-tail again. I'm sad (that this is the last race at Nazareth Speedway). I really like this place, you're driving the entire time and I've had a lot of fun here. I think the best thing we do in the IRL is race the low-banked one-mile ovals, and now there's only going to be one of those left."

Panther Tracks: Panther Racing finished second at Nazareth Speedway in 2003 ... 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 55 Top Tens .... The team's 2,457 laps led is second only to Team Menard .... 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 (12), Mark Taylor (6), Townsend Bell (6), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Robby McGehee , Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear , Townsend Bell , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing