IRL: Pikes Peak: Panther Racing race report

Bell Works His Way into 12th, Scheckter 17th FOUNTAIN, Colo. -- For the third consecutive race, Tomas Scheckter and the Pennzoil Panther team had a car that was charging towards victory. Tomas has made a habit of roaring up the field after the...

Bell Works His Way into 12th, Scheckter 17th

FOUNTAIN, Colo. -- For the third consecutive race, Tomas Scheckter and the Pennzoil Panther team had a car that was charging towards victory. Tomas has made a habit of roaring up the field after the drop of the green flag and it was no different on Sunday, as the Indy Racing League veteran established himself as a contender for the win. Despite another impressive showing at Pikes Peak International Raceway -- where he worked his way into second and was gunning for the top spot - a broken half-shaft ended the day early. The mechanical problem put the Panther Chevrolet in 17th.

Townsend Bell finished the Honda Indy 225 in 12th after battling handing problems. Bell started in 15th, and joined his teammate in the surge to the front of the pack. Bell had no trouble picking through the field and quickly jumped into the Top Ten. However, the handle on his Menards/Johns Manville car prevented him from making a significant push into the Top Five. A late wing adjustment got him back on track and running well, but it was too late for the 29-year-old American to pick up any more positions.

Tomas Scheckter:

"Well, I guess I'm still shell shocked right now. We lost the left side half shaft on our last pit stop and were done for the day. We just had an awesome car and to have it end that way is like falling off a cliff. The Pennzoil Panther team gave me a great car and we had great pit stops. I could run high or low and Chevy gave me a great engine. Talk about a great heartbeat -- we were cooking all day. To have it end like it did was a huge disappointment for all of us. We're tough, we'll be back."

Townsend Bell:

"We were really quick at the end of the race. Earlier we took a gamble with pit strategy and unfortunately it didn't pay off for the Panther guys. On our second stop we had some miscommunication and we took wing out the front when we needed to put more in -- and that really caused us some problems. Chevy races to win, and Tommy and I were right there once again."

Panther Tracks: Carmichael Training Systems President and Founder Chris Carmichael was in the pits watching the race with fellow CTS coach Chris Griffin. The two CTS coaches also took a Menards/Johns Manville two-seater IndyCar ride on Friday. Carmichael is the personal coach of six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong .... Injured Panther crewman Steve Namisnak also attended his first race since being injured in the Michigan Indy 400 ... 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 , Dave Steele
Teams Panther Racing