Enge's Fifth-Place at Infineon Another Career-Best Scheckter Fights Through Problems, Finishes 16th SONOMA, Calif. -- RockStar Panther driver Tomas Enge claimed another career-best finish Sunday in the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix, ...
Enge's Fifth-Place at Infineon Another Career-Best
Scheckter Fights Through Problems, Finishes 16th
SONOMA, Calif. -- RockStar Panther driver Tomas Enge claimed another career-best finish Sunday in the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix, after finishing fifth in the 80-lap event. Enge, who topped his previous career-best of sixth set last week at Pikes Peak, also led a total of 13 laps in the race. Pennzoil Panther driver Tomas Scheckter encountered several problems during his run today, and was forced to exit the race early with a 16th-place finish.
Enge qualified fourth for today's event and jumped to third within the first few laps of the race. Then, following his first pit stop, the IndyCar Series rookie climbed into the lead on Lap 33 and slowly built a six-second advantage. Tomas managed to fight off eventual winner Tony Kanaan for 13 laps, even after spinning out on Lap 38. He pitted on Lap 47 and was continuing his climb until another caution period. The RockStar team elected to take a fuel-only stop on the 53rd lap of the event to make sure Enge could make it to the finish.
Scheckter experienced a failure in the sensor of his gear-shift lever, forcing him to shift manually on the difficult 12-turn circuit. Tomas still overcame the problem, and ran as high as sixth when the Pennzoil team elected not to pit during the first yellow-flag period. Later in the race Scheckter collided slightly with another car, which caused damage to his suspension. The Panther crew attempted to fix the problem, but Scheckter was unable to continue.
This is the second-consecutive weekend where Enge has brought home his career-best finish. After having an early-season high of seventh at Richmond, the 28-year-old finished sixth at Pikes Peak a week ago. Today's finish marks his first Top Five while driving in the IndyCar Series. The series rookie has also led laps in both non-oval events of the season.
With his finish, Enge has climbed within 12 points of second place in the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year standings.
The IndyCar Series will be off next weekend before traveling to Chicagoland Speedway for the Chicagoland Indy 300 on Sept. 11 -- the race will also be held on Enge's 29th birthday.
"The RockStar car was just great today and I must thank all my guys and especially my engineer Andy Borme. Compared to where we were when we started the weekend, this is an awesome finish for our Panther team. I know we were just fifth, but this is still a great result. I had two small touches and one spin, and with the different fuel strategy we had to make one extra stop for fuel. (On the spin) I just wanted as big a gap as possible from (second-place) Tony Kanaan, and I only lost a few seconds and not even a position. After the spin we had a bit of a vibration, but I was still trying to push as much as possible. We will keep moving forward and I still believe that we can win a race this season."
"For sure it was a long day for the Pennzoil Panther crew. Right from the start, we started the race with a problem. A sensor on the gear-shift lever failed. I had to lift off the throttle every time I wanted to change gears which cost us a massive amount of time on the track. We tried a different fuel strategy to try to compensate for our lack of overall speed, but unfortunately, we got into an incident with someone and bent the suspension a bit. We tried to fix it initially, but after trying to run again, we decided to pack it in. It was a tough way to end a long weekend, but we'll regroup and come back strong at Chicagoland."