Panther Racing Prepares for Weekend Battle at Mid-Ohio INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - (August 5, 2009) -- Panther doesn't have to travel far this weekend for the IndyCar Series' upcoming Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course -- located just a...
Panther Racing Prepares for Weekend Battle at Mid-Ohio
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - (August 5, 2009) -- Panther doesn't have to travel far this weekend for the IndyCar Series' upcoming Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course -- located just a few hours from Indianapolis, and even closer to the location of last weekend's race at Kentucky Speedway. Panther hopes a return to the 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit, where they led the race and finished sixth last season, will help propel them back to the top side of the grid.
National Guard driver Dan Wheldon will be making his third start at the track, and has a best career finish of 10th, recorded in 2007 while driving for Ganassi Racing. Wheldon has collected three Top Five and eight Top Ten results this season, and the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion looks to return to the front of the field this weekend. He ranks seventh in the IndyCar Series championship chase, tied with Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan.
Wheldon was taken out of the first race of the season by Robert Doornbos in St. Petersburg, but has since finished every race, a stretch that included eight-consecutive Top Ten finishes until a 14th-place finish in Toronto.
The Firestone Indy Lights race will be held on Sunday afternoon and will feature Panther's two-car lineup of Martin Plowman and Pippa Mann. Plowman is coming off a ninth-place finish in Kentucky, which marked his third Top Ten finish of the season. He currently ranks 12th in the Indy Lights points championship and Mann is in the 15th position, just two points away from moving up a spot in the chase.
Both drivers tested at Mid-Ohio earlier in the season, but the track conditions were very wet due to rain storms.
Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda
"We learned a lot in Edmonton about the direction in which we need to work on our road course package and we're going to work on that starting this weekend at Mid-Ohio. It's a fun track and I'm looking forward to returning there with the National Guard Panther Racing team. We haven't had the results that perhaps we've wanted the past few weekends, but all the guys have been working hard and we hope to roll off the truck strong on Friday and have a good race."
Martin Plowman, No. 15 Firestone Indy Lights
"We're back to a road course this weekend and I'm looking forward to getting some laps around the Mid-Ohio track. We had a test not long ago over there, but the weather was awful and we got rained out. I got a good feeling of the track and hopefully we can continue the progress that we are making on our road course setup to get the Top Five we are looking for."
Pippa Mann, No. 16 Firestone Indy Lights
"We went for a test in Mid-Ohio in the beginning of June but unfortunately we could only run for half a day due to the bad weather. We were able to get some laps in and the track seems to be cool and it reminds me of the kind of track that I used to race back in Europe. The Lights cars will only get a 45 minute practice before qualifying, so we'll be against the clock to get the car dialed in for the race."