Phoenix Race Ends Early for Panther Racing Avondale, Ariz. -- Both Panther Racing drivers ran into trouble Saturday in the XM Satellite Radio 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Despite another strong qualification effort by both Tomas Enge...
Phoenix Race Ends Early for Panther Racing
Avondale, Ariz. -- Both Panther Racing drivers ran into trouble Saturday in the XM Satellite Radio 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Despite another strong qualification effort by both Tomas Enge and Tomas Scheckter, neither car was able to register Panther's third win at PIR. Scheckter finished in 17th and Enge ended the day in 20th.
Scheckter fought with some handling problems throughout the day, and was still in a position to bring home a Top Ten finish when he got pushed into the marbles and made light contact with the outside retaining wall with nine laps remaining in the race. Tomas had qualified in fourth for the race at PIR, after earning a pole position two weeks ago in Miami.
IndyCar Series rookie Tomas Enge started 7th, making him the top rookie qualifier in both races this season. Even though he posted the fastest speed in the Saturday morning practice session, he fought with a loose racecar in the early stages of the race. Then, after a restart following a crash involving Buddy Rice, a problem within the RockStar car ruined any chances of a victory. As the team was trying to remedy the problem, Enge attempted to let Dario Franchitti pass on the inside, and when Franchitti and Enge both backed out of the throttle, Enge was in the gray and brushed the outside wall.
Fan Tour Kick-Off Saturday
Panther Racing will officially kick off its Fan Tour 2005 on Saturday, March 26th from 7-10 p.m. at Fast Times Indoor Karting, located at 96th & Keystone Ave, in Indianapolis. For a $10 donation to Best Buddies Indiana, fans will be able to race on the bi-level indoor course. Scheckter, Enge and Panther Racing's third driver for the Indianapolis 500 will be available for autographs from 7-8 p.m. There will be door prizes given away throughout the evening and fans will be able to sign up for the Fan Tour. The team expects to make an announcement on its third Indy 500 driver this coming Thursday.
Panther will compete in the first Indy Racing League road course event at St. Petersburg, Florida on Sunday, April 3rd.
"I was going to let one of the Cheever cars by and he moved me up the track. I could have got a 7th or 8th out of our Pennzoil car, even though we were struggling today. It was another great motor from Chevrolet. We'll be back, but I'm still disappointed. The car was a little off, but I still wanted to get clean stops and finish the race."
"We had a good run in the RockStar car all weekend. Something happened after the restart and we lost speed and everybody was going by me. We're not sure what it was. Then there was a lead car coming by and I just wanted to let him by. He suddenly backed off as well, and I had no space to get back on the ideal line. Once I hit the marbles outside of turn three I was just a passenger.