IRL: Richmond: Panther Racing race report

Scheckter Finishes 4th in Richmond; Enge Nabs Career-Best 7th RICHMOND, Virginia -- The Panther Racing duo of Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge combined for the best two-car finish for the Chevy-powered team Saturday night during the SunTrust Indy...

Scheckter Finishes 4th in Richmond; Enge Nabs Career-Best 7th

RICHMOND, Virginia -- The Panther Racing duo of Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge combined for the best two-car finish for the Chevy-powered team Saturday night during the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.

Pennzoil driver Tomas Scheckter utilized a last-lap pass against former Panther driver Dan Wheldon to capture an exciting 4th-place finish. IndyCar Series rookie Tomas Enge was charging towards second place late in the race when he was hit with a controversial black flag for blocking. Despite the penalty, Enge finished a career-best of 7th at RIR.

Scheckter, who started 19th, took a slow and methodical approach to the front of the pack. He managed to avoid several close accidents during the SunTrust Indy Challenge, and saved his best for last in slipping past Wheldon for the 4th-place result on the final lap of the race. Scheckter is coming off a dominant victory at Texas Motor Speedway, where he led 119 of 200 laps en route to his second career IndyCar Series victory. The last two races have accounted for Scheckter's two best finishes as a member of Panther Racing.

IndyCar Series rookie Tomas Enge qualified in the 8th position, and has started inside the Top Ten for every race he's started this season. The 28-year-old from the Czech Republic showed his Chevrolet was once again one of the fastest cars on the track, and joined Scheckter in a steady climb to the front.

Enge was in 6th on Lap 208 and moved up to third by Lap 229, and was on pace to move past Dario Franchitti for second on the grid. It was on Lap 237 when Enge was penalized for blocking Cheever Racing driver Patrick Carpentier. Enge admitted to defending his line, but the move was complicated by the #91 car of Jimmy Kite, who was five laps down and making things difficult for Enge and the RockStar team. It was not the first time the RockStar Chevy had trouble getting past the slower back marker.

Panther Racing won at Richmond in 2002 with Sam Hornish, Jr. and has also finished second (2001) and fourth (2003). Tomas Scheckter was headed for a podium finish in 2004 when he was collected in an accident late in the race and finished 17th.

Panther will head to Kansas Speedway next weekend with the rest of the IndyCar Series, and Scheckter's #4 Pennzoil Chevrolet will return to its Platinum livery for the Argent Mortgage Indy 300. The #4 was Platinum for the Indianapolis 500 and the Bombardier Learjet 500k at Texas Motor Speedway.

Tomas Scheckter:

"I'm very happy with how the Pennzoil Chevy ran tonight. I pushed only when I needed to and didn't take any dumb chances. We were great in the pits, the car was great all night, the crew did a great job -- it was just great all around. We're really happy to bring the car home in one piece. Late in the race, I really didn't want the race to go back to green because there were so many back markers that could have caused a crazy incident, but it ended up working well for me. I just managed to get inside Danny there on that last lap and got fourth. We'll pack both our cars in one piece and get our Pennzoil team ready for another great run in Kansas."

Tomas Enge:

"Well, obviously I'm disappointed with the black flag. I was defending my line against the 83 but it was mainly because I was having so much trouble getting by the 91 car. I felt we really got screwed by a back marker tonight that was five laps down. There were two times tonight that I was having trouble getting by that Hemelgarn car. This was a great job by the Panther guys all night long, and it's great to finally get a strong finish in our RockStar Chevy. I had a great car today and the race was great. Now we take this positive team result and move on to Kansas."

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tomas Enge , Jimmy Kite , Dario Franchitti , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornis
Teams Panther Racing