IRL: St. Pete: Panther Racing qualifying report

Meira Claims 12th Spot in St. Pete Qualifications Brazilian Looks to Duplicate 2005 Effort from Same Starting Spot. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- EcoNova Panther driver Vitor Meira looks to duplicate his strong 2005 effort at St. Pete, when he ...

Meira Claims 12th Spot in St. Pete Qualifications
Brazilian Looks to Duplicate 2005 Effort from Same Starting Spot.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- EcoNova Panther driver Vitor Meira looks to duplicate his strong 2005 effort at St. Pete, when he qualified 12th and climbed through a talented field and into the Top Five. Meira re-claimed the 12 spot on Saturday during qualifications for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He will start one spot ahead of former Panther driver Dan Wheldon, who last year took the victory here in addition to five other IndyCar Series races.

Meira ran a top lap of 101.217 mph, 64.0206 seconds.

Meira finished just behind the 1-2-3-4 sweep of Andretti Green Racing, and added another Top Five finish to his resume last year. Panther was strong in both its No. 4 and No. 2 entries here last season, but both drivers fell victim to late race incidents and did not finish the race. Then-rookie Tomas Enge led the first laps of his IndyCar Series career on the Streets of St. Petersburg while piloting Panther's No. 2 entry.

The Panther Pack is coming off a 16th place finish in Homestead where an early problem ended the day after just 10 laps of competition. Panther led laps in two of the three non-oval tracks last season and looks to set the pace again this weekend.

The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live Sunday on ESPN at 3:45 p.m. (EST) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio Channel 175.

Vitor Meira Quote:

"We've made a lot of adjustments this weekend and we are still making the EcoNova Honda very good. Our focus has been on the race tomorrow. We know that we have a better racecar than qualifying car. One hundred laps is a lot (tomorrow) and that's even more than we've run so far this weekend. It was quite slippery during my qualification run and I'm not sure if that is because of the heat. I know it was a lot cooler in the morning when we practiced today. We're going to be there, don't worry."

-pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Enge , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing