Meira leads four Panoz G Force drivers with third-place Texas finish FT WORTH, October 17, 2004 - Vitor Meira was the highest placed Panoz G Force driver in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series season-closing Chevy 500K on the high banks of...
Meira leads four Panoz G Force drivers with third-place Texas finish
FT WORTH, October 17, 2004 - Vitor Meira was the highest placed Panoz G Force driver in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series season-closing Chevy 500K on the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway's 1.5-mile oval today. Vying for victory as he pressured the three drivers ahead of him with his #17 Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone challenger, the Brazilian earned fourth place yet was disappointed not to bring home the win.
"The race didn't finish like we thought, with just two laps to the checkered flags under green," Meira explained after the 13-lap fourth and final caution bunched the 21-car field. "I think we were in position to race for the win when the yellow came out, coming back from ninth to the lead around Lap 160 [of 200]." Despite clipping the wall a couple of times, "My Panoz G Force was still good to the end."
Adrian Fernandez, hoping for a "hat trick" this weekend after winning the previous two races settled for fifth with his #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda. The Mexican ace thought it was "a strong race and my Panoz G Force was very strong. It was a great race," as he stepped side-by-side with the leaders all afternoon, taking 18 laps at the front of the pack at mid-race. "There was good, clean racing out there and everybody behaved really well. It was a fantastic season for us."
Scott Dixon earned sixth place with his #1 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota, overcoming a difficult start to the race when he faded from his fifth place start. "The Panoz G Force was much stronger at the end than it was at the start. We didn't have enough front wing, which gave me too much understeer and dropped me back early on." The team short-filled his car on one pit stop for track position and the New Zealander was able to fight back.
Mark Taylor secured his best finish of the season with the #13 Access Motorsports Panoz G Force/Honda from 14th on the grid when he finished seventh today. "My Panoz G Force was really quick on its own, but we got caught up in traffic and I was really struggling to keep it down on that white line," he noted.
Kosuke Matsuura secured 2004 Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors with his #55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda. Despite failing to finish the 300-mile race due to gearbox problems Matsuura thought, "Today I had such a good car; when we came here on Friday the car wasn't really good, but yesterday, in the final practice we found a couple of things and the Panoz G Force was great."
The 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series begins at Homestead-Miami Speedway next February and Panoz G Force, the sole American designed and built chassis in the Indy Racing League is hoping to secure constructors' honors after coming close this year, despite fielding only seven of 22 regular IndyCar Series entries.