IRL: Panther Racing releases Taylor

IRL: Panther Racing releases Taylor

Learning on the job is not an option in the highly competitive world of the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series. After six races and five DNFs due to accidents, it's apparent the time has come for Panther Racing and its rookie driver Mark Taylor...

Learning on the job is not an option in the highly competitive world of the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series. After six races and five DNFs due to accidents, it's apparent the time has come for Panther Racing and its rookie driver Mark Taylor to part company.

Mark Taylor.
Photo by Jim Haines - IRL.
Taylor, the 26-year-old Briton who succeeded famously under the tutelage of Panther Racing last season in winning the Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship with seven victories in 11 starts, has had extreme difficulty finding his way in the more powerful and competitive Indy cars this year.

While Taylor recorded his best start of the 2004 season last weekend on the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway bullring in third place, he once again fell out of the contest and did so with an unforced error, making contact with veteran and frontrunner Dario Franchitti while running mid- pack.

"Mark Taylor has done everything we have asked him to do over the past 18 months as part of the Panther Racing family," declared team co-owner John Barnes. "However, due to the many pressures of professional auto racing, it is in everyone's best interest that we look in different directions."

Late last year, Panther Racing and John Menard's eponymous operation merged and Panther's second team is run under the sponsorship banner of Menards home improvement stores and supplier Johns Manville. The amount of work necessary to repair broken Dallara/Chevrolet cars - not to mention the finances involved - likely help lead to this decision to set Taylor free.

Mark Taylor's wrecked car.
Photo by Earl Ma.
"The IndyCar Series has become one of the toughest championships a driver can contest," acknowledged co-owner Gary Pedigo. "The rules limiting team testing have made the learning curve very, very steep for a rookie in this series.

"Mark has done an outstanding job of getting the car up front in several races and has turned some very quick laps in a short amount of time," Pedigo continued. "Mark is a very bright, personable and talented young driver and we wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Unfortunately, success in smaller formulae does not always equate to success in larger cars such as the Indy machines. Apparently, that is the case for young Taylor.

Panther Racing will divulge the identity of a new driver for the #2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone entry prior to the start of the Argent Mortgage Kansas Indy 300 weekend, a two-day affair taking place on Saturday and Sunday, July 3rd and 4th on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Dario Franchitti
Teams Panther Racing