IRL: Panther Racing Homestead test, day one notes

Enge, Scheckter Impressive During First Day of Testing HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Tomas Enge ended his first session in the No. 2 Panther Chevrolet at the top of the speed chart during the Indy Racing League's Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on...

Enge, Scheckter Impressive During First Day of Testing

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Tomas Enge ended his first session in the No. 2 Panther Chevrolet at the top of the speed chart during the Indy Racing League's Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Wednesday. The 28-year-old rookie, who signed with the team less than 48 hours earlier, nailed a lap speed of 111.128 mph, 71.5928 seconds, which was tops in the morning session on the 2.21-mile circuit. Enge returned strong in the afternoon and finished the day 11th overall on the speed chart while the Panther team worked through a variety of setups.

Tomas Scheckter returned to his road course roots for the first time in over three years and finished the day 10th overall on the speed chart. Scheckter didn't waste any time during the afternoon, as he got back on the track and posted a lap speed of 111.193 mph, 71.5514 seconds. He is entering his second year in the Pennzoil Panther #4 and the first time Scheckter has been with the same team for consecutive seasons.

Panther will test again tomorrow on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course and then on the 1.5-mile oval Saturday. There will be no track activity on Friday while the IRL hosts its Media Day and the crew changes the car over from road course to oval setup.

Tomas Scheckter:

"We're happy with what we accomplished today. It was a good day in the Pennzoil car overall. I think a lot of other guys tested here before and it took us a minute to get everything in place. We found a good baseline and a good foundation going into tomorrow. It's fun to get back out here and I'm excited about what Chevrolet is bringing us this season. I think we're just going to get stronger and stronger every day that we're out here."

Tomas Enge:

"It's just testing, but the feelings are great. It's not because the car is fast, it's because of how the people welcomed me and took me into the team. There were a few things that were important today -- getting into the rhythm of the car, finding out how to drive this kind of car on the road course and getting used to working with my engineer (Andy Borme). Understanding one another is important. It went quite well in the morning and in the afternoon we were trying to find a good balance and trying a lot of different setups. It's good to know our team is working very hard to try and beat the other guys out there. I'm very happy."

Panther Tracks: Homestead-Miami Speedway was the host of Scheckter's best finish last year, when he took the checkered flag in 5th. He started the race in 3rd ... Enge competed in three Formula One races in 2001, including the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he finished 14th ... 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 (16), Townsend Bell (10), Mark Taylor (6), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).

-www.pantherracing.com

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