LEXINGTON, OH August 8, 2010--Vitor Meira drove the ABC Supply car to a 15th place finish in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday afternoon. Dario Franchitti won the race followed by Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Alex Tagliani...
LEXINGTON, OH August 8, 2010--Vitor Meira drove the ABC Supply car to a 15th place finish in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday afternoon. Dario Franchitti won the race followed by Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Alex Tagliani and Scott Dixon.
Despite high hopes coming into a track where the team finished in the top-10 in the last three races, Meira and company knew they had their work cut out for them because they were starting 24th. The field was tight with Meira less than a second off the pole time and 18th quick overall but because of the knockout qualifying format, he was gridded 24th. Making his task more challenging is that the 2.25-mile road course is so difficult to pass on. Passing opportunities come when drivers make mistakes and as the IZOD IndyCar Series competition increases, mistakes become fewer as the season goes on.
The team struggled in the two hours of practice before qualifying despite having tested at Mid Ohio in June. Saturday night they made some more changes and in the morning warm-up, Meira was pleased with the car. Indeed he bounced in and out of the top-10, finally ending up 16th when the 30-minute session ended.
Meira got a good start and was in 21st after just two laps. A full course yellow for Justin Wilson and E.J. Viso's accident on lap 23 triggered the first round of pit stops on lap 25. The crew serviced him in 7.4 seconds. He came in 17th and went out 19th because two cars that were behind him stayed out: Tony Kanaan, who was on an alternate strategy had pitted on lap 16, and 15th place Tagliani had pitted on lap 22, the lap before the full course yellow. Tagliani became the biggest beneficiary. As everyone else pitted, Tagliani moved to the head of the field followed by Kanaan.
Meira continued to run a consistent race. His second and final pit stop on lap 56 was again under eight seconds, allowing him to maintain his position on the track which at that time was 18th. He picked up two more positions when Hideki Mutoh and Graham Rahal went off track in separate incidents. Meira moved into 15th with a pass on the lap 66 restart and that is where he stayed until the checkered flew after 85 laps.
"Any day you make up nine positions at Mid Ohio, you can't complain too much," Meira said afterwards. "It was a very tough race and a complicated race. We learned a bunch for next year and as tough as this series is, I feel we are still making strides."
The team is headed to Infineon Raceway this week to test there on Friday, Aug 13th a week before the Infineon Indy Grand Prix weekend.