Four Panoz G Force Drivers Reach Top Ten in Tough Texas Race FT WORTH, June 12, 2004 In a difficult Bombardier 500K race on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway high banks, four Panoz G Force drivers survived to take fifth through eighth places in...
Four Panoz G Force Drivers Reach Top Ten in Tough Texas Race
FT WORTH, June 12, 2004 In a difficult Bombardier 500K race on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway high banks, four Panoz G Force drivers survived to take fifth through eighth places in a contest of attrition. Adrian Fernandez finished fifth in the #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda, followed by Vitor Meira, making his third start for the #17 Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda team. Local driver Greg Ray took seventh in his #13 Renovac Panoz G Force/Honda while Darren Manning earned eighth for the #10 Target Panoz G Force/Toyota.
The finishing positions were not indicative of the abilities of Panoz G Force runners. Rookie Kosuke Matsuura led eight laps in his #55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda, only to retire with an electrical problem. Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice hounded eventual winner Tony Kanaan in his #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda, leading seven laps, yet failed to finish the contest when an accident felled him on lap 182. A separate incident felled 2003 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon's #1 Target Panoz G Force/Toyota on lap 183.
Fernandez, making his first start on the difficult high banks called it "quite an experience. This was my first time racing side-by-side in an open wheel race and that was quite an experience, watching everybody out there," he said. "The car was good all night long." Meira said he "had a great car tonight; I was able to go to the front (from 13th on the grid) and race with the leaders." Ray noted he "had a great car tonight with our Panoz G Force; we got hung out in traffic a couple of times, but that's part of racing. The car was great and we didn't take any stupid chances." Wide-eyed after his first night race at Texas Manning said, "The engineers on both cars helped me get the best out of the #10 car. I had some good runs tonight."
The Indy Racing League's 16-race campaign resumes two weeks from tonight's contest at the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway bullring with another evening contest under the lights. Buddy Rice is the highest placed Panoz G Force driver in the points standings, lying fourth with 144 points, just two out of third place with 11 races left to run.