IRL: Richmond: Panoz G Force race report

Meira Second in Physical Richmond Race Richmond, June 26, 2004 ­ After 250 laps around the resurfaced Richmond International Raceway in the SunTrust Indy Challenge, Vitor Meira brought his ...

Meira Second in Physical Richmond Race

Richmond, June 26, 2004 ­ After 250 laps around the resurfaced Richmond International Raceway in the SunTrust Indy Challenge, Vitor Meira brought his #17 Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda second to the checkered flags in what was intended to be a one-lap shootout, won by Dan Wheldon. The track yellow lights never turned off to allow a green-flag finish, negating any passes performed on the final lap and allowing Meira to resume the place he held during the final caution that ended the race.

Meira, who started eighth in the night contest that saw seven cautions yielding seven retirements among 22 starters, was pleased with the balance of his car throughout the contest. "The Panoz G Force has been good all weekend and they've really stepped it up on downforce to compete with Dallara. We could find the good spot on mechanical grip even with all the variables involved." This result is Meira's best IndyCar Series finish.

Buddy Rice, Meira's teammate took sixth in the #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda, acknowledging, "We are still learning this car for the short tracks, but we did find a direction to go now and that is optimistic." Rice didn't have the new-enough tires to maintain position in the battle for fourth, he revealed.

Adrian Fernandez, making his first start on the .75-mile resurfaced bullring finished seventh in the #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda. "The guys gave me a great race car and I managed to put myself in a good position at the start of the race by passing some people," the Mexican ace declared. Despite being hit shortly before the close and breaking "some of my right-side aerodynamic pieces, the car was fine. I couldn't believe it. These Panoz G Force cars are built very strongly, for sure."

The 2003 Richmond winner and IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon earned eighth in the #1 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota. Dixon "had quite a bit of oversteer when I got close to anyone and tried to pass so traffic became my biggest issue."

There's no rest for the IndyCar Series troops as they move along to Kansas Speedway for another two-day meeting next weekend for race number seven in the 16-event campaign.

-pgf-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Vitor Meira