IRL: Watkins Glen: Panther Racing race report

Matsuura Collects Best Finish of Season; Finishes Eighth at The Glen WATKINS GLEN, NY. (July 6, 2007) -- Super Aguri Panther driver Kosuke Matsuura and the Panasonic team rebounded from a crash on qualification day to battle for eighth place ...

Matsuura Collects Best Finish of Season; Finishes Eighth at The Glen

WATKINS GLEN, NY. (July 6, 2007) -- Super Aguri Panther driver Kosuke Matsuura and the Panasonic team rebounded from a crash on qualification day to battle for eighth place Sunday at the Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix, the No. 55 team's best finish of the season.

Delphi Panther driver Vitor Meira was the victim of a communication and telemetry issue, and ran out of fuel while leading the race. Despite leading eight laps in the middle of the event, Meira finished 17th.

The result was Matsuura's second Top Ten finish of the season, and is one position better than his ninth place finish at Texas in June. Kosuke, who started 11th, picked up one spot at the start of the race, and utilized good pit stops and consistent driving to move inside the Top Ten.

In the closing laps, with Matsuura in ninth, he passed Darren Manning for eighth on Lap 50 and moved into seventh a lap later when Ed Carpenter pitted. Despite losing one position to Dan Wheldon, Kosuke settled on a solid eighth-place result.

For Meira, the race result was especially frustrating because the Brazilian driver knew he had a Top Five car. Starting in the eighth position, Vitor blew past Buddy Rice and Sam Hornish, Jr. into the first turn and trailed Andretti Green Racing driver Marco Andretti. Meira had driven up to fourth by Lap 24 when a caution flag came out. As the team experienced problems with its radio and telemetry, Meira stayed out as other drivers pitted, inheriting the lead in the process.

Vitor pulled away from second-place Dan Wheldon on the restart and paced the field for eight laps, but the lack of communication between driver and team left the No. 4 on the course for too long, and Meira ran out of fuel. He returned to the pits and the race, but was two laps down an unable to make up any valuable positions.

The team will now travel to Nashville, where Meira collected one of his six podium finishes in 2006. Vitor started sixth and finished third there last season, and also led one lap. Matsuura finished ninth there in 2004, his best result at the track.

Vitor Meira:

"I don't know when the telemetry problem started, but it was just about the same time as the communication issues. We had a good strategy and I was going to follow whatever the team said. The thing is - these problems happen. It's just like having push in the car or anything else, and we're going to overcome it as a team. The good thing is, our Delphi car was awesome. I'm really confident going into the remaining road courses and excited for the next race."

Kosuke Matsuura:

"It feels like today was the first decent race and the first race I was able to enjoy since the start of the season. I crashed in the last practice session yesterday and damaged the rear part of the car but my crew fixed it by the qualifying session so I was able to start from the 11th. I really wanted to do well today for Super Aguri Panther guys so I just kept pushing. It's my second top 10 finish this season and I would like to continue improving my results and hopefully be able to finish in top 5. I want to thank my crew and the team for a great job and continuing support."

-credit: pr

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Marco Andretti , Kosuke Matsuura , Ed Carpenter , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing