Mid-Ohio: Panther Racing qualifying report

Vitor Meira Set to Start in 11th Position Tomorrow at Mid-Ohio Firestone Indy Lights Drivers Finished 16th and 18th, Respectively LEXINGTON, Ohio. (July 19, 2008) - A frenzied last lap during the First Round of IndyCar qualifications Saturday...

Vitor Meira Set to Start in 11th Position Tomorrow at Mid-Ohio

Firestone Indy Lights Drivers Finished 16th and 18th, Respectively

LEXINGTON, Ohio. (July 19, 2008) - A frenzied last lap during the First Round of IndyCar qualifications Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course helped Panther driver Vitor Meira advance to the second round, where he would eventually put the Delphi National Guard team in the 11th starting position for tomorrow's Honda Indy 200.

Vitor recorded his best time of the day during the second qualification group at 1.08.1337 seconds, which was an average of 119.535 mph. He started 18th here last year after an accident during his qualification run.

Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe swept the front row for tomorrow's 85-lap race.

Meira and his teammates were happy with the qualification effort, especially considering his bonsai last lap during the first round of qualifications. After he posted the tenth best effort in the first group, Meira pulled into the pits with just a handful of minutes remaining in the session and - with his Delphi National Guard car sitting tenth on the grid - far outside the top six qualifiers that advanced to the second round.

After a fresh set of Firestone tires, and still in tenth as he crossed the start/finish line for his final circuit, Meira was able to improve his previous best lap time by 0.5 seconds, propelling him from 10th position to fourth.

Vitor is coming off one of his better performances of the season; a sixth-place run at Nashville Superspeedway. After starting in 15th position, he advanced all the way to third position before fuel strategy and a rain storm played a role in the final results.

In the first Firestone Indy Lights race of the weekend, Brent Sherman finished 16th and Dillon Battistini finished 18th. The final Indy Lights race of the weekend will take place tomorrow.

The Honda Indy 200 will be broadcast live at 1:30 (ET) on ABC with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio channels 144 and 145.

Vitor Meira, No. 4 Delphi National Guard:

"It was an OK effort on our part. We had a great lap to get into the second round and that's the second time we've been able to do that. We keep getting better and better. I'm not super happy but I'm not bummed out either. We all know we can get better, myself included, and we will. This qualification was in the middle of our expectations."

Brent Sherman, No. 16 National Guard Delphi (Firestone Indy Lights):

"Our last few laps were good. I just had to get out of the way of some of the lead lap cars. I didn't want to take any of them out, but our times were there. My car wasn't quite right though. We were too soft in the front which made us loose in the corners. There were parts of the track though where we were awesome. We were just loose in and tight off. Hopefully tomorrow we can show the progress we've made."

Dillon Battistini, No. 15 AlexP (Firestone Indy Lights):

"There's not a whole lot I want to say. It just wasn't a good race for us. We were slow on the straight, and there was a vibration in the car after the contact. The rear is just taking too long to come on. I could tell even in the warm-up laps that we were lacking grip. We need to get the car better and move on to tomorrow's race."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Brent Sherman , Ryan Briscoe , Dillon Battistini , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske