Panther Looks for Another Phoenix Win Avondale, Ariz. -- Panther Racing returns to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend looking for its third win at the tricky one-mile oval. The first of Panther's 14 victories came at PIR back in...
Panther Looks for Another Phoenix Win
Avondale, Ariz. -- Panther Racing returns to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend looking for its third win at the tricky one-mile oval. The first of Panther's 14 victories came at PIR back in 1999 with Scott Goodyear behind the wheel of the Pennzoil Panther #4. Sam Hornish, Jr. won his first start with Panther at Phoenix in 2001 and now drivers Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge look to add to the win total.
Last season at PIR Scheckter was running in third when Dario Franchitti ran into the back of his racecar during a caution period with the end of the race in sight. Scheckter started the first IndyCar Series event this season at Homestead from the pole position, which was his sixth career IndyCar pole and first with Panther. Tomas was running in the top five before an accident with Kosuke Matsuura landed him in 11th.
This will be Tomas Enge's second start with Panther and his fourth career IndyCar Series start. He tested with the team here in February during the Indy Racing League's "Test in the West', and he finished the first morning session with the fastest lap time of all the drivers on the track. Following the testing, Enge classified the Phoenix oval as, "my favorite oval I have driven so far." Enge was the top rookie qualifier in the Toyota Indy 300 two weeks ago at Homestead, when he started in third. He finished 21st after a gearbox problem.
"We're really looking forward to this weekend at Phoenix. Everybody knows we've got a strong Chevy motor now and a very fast Pennzoil racecar. Nobody is worried about what happened in Miami, this team is just looking forward to the next race and solid finish this weekend. It's a long season and I'm confident we'll be in the championship hunt all year."
"Phoenix represents a different challenge than the quick oval at Homestead. We usually race with the minimum downforce at the quick tracks but the opposite is true for the slower ones like Phoenix. While setting up our RockStar car we are aware that turns one and two have bigger banking from turns three and four. Generally speaking, the drivers have to work more behind the wheel. I believe that Panther Racing and Chevy will be again very strong and I hope that we will confirm it also in the race."
Panther Tracks: Mark Taylor finished 12th at PIR last season in the #2 Chevrolet, his best result in six races with the team .... Taylor won the Infiniti Pro Series race at PIR in 2003, and he led all 100 laps of that race ... 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 ten drivers have started a race for Panther: Sam Hornish Jr. (44), Scott Goodyear (30), Tomas Scheckter (17), Townsend Bell (10), Mark Taylor (6), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Tomas Enge (1), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).