Meira Leads Mid-Ohio for 21 Laps, Finishes Sixth Place Again Brent Sherman Drives to 10th Place Finish in Second Indy Lights Race LEXINGTON, Ohio. (July 20, 2008) -- A pit stop on the first lap of the Honda Indy 200 Sunday afternoon at...
Meira Leads Mid-Ohio for 21 Laps, Finishes Sixth Place Again
Brent Sherman Drives to 10th Place Finish in Second Indy Lights Race
LEXINGTON, Ohio. (July 20, 2008) -- A pit stop on the first lap of the Honda Indy 200 Sunday afternoon at Mid-Ohio helped propel Panther driver Vitor Meira into the lead of the IndyCar Series field for 21 laps. The team's Delphi National Guard driver would battle throughout the race among the leaders and eventually settled for a sixth place finish, his second-consecutive sixth place result.
With a rain shower that hammered down on the paddock shortly before the start of the event, the entire IndyCar field began the race on rain tires. Team owner John Barnes told the team they would switch to slick tires early, and as Meira took his warm-up laps he radioed to his crew that they should pit immediately to make the change. Meira pitted along with Darren Manning after the drivers took the green flag, and six laps later he moved to the front of the field.
Vitor led the race for a total of 21 laps before the team pitted on Lap 27 for more fuel and tires. Meira continued to battle within the top five or six cars, as several different fuel strategies came into play.
This was the fifth race Meira had led this season and the No. 4 car has led a total of 76 circuits.
The team's Brazilian driver had his most eventful moment of the race as he exited the pits on his final stop, on Lap 58. Vitor had pitted in second position and was trying to hustle his car ahead of Scott Dixon, but the two drivers had light contact -- allowing both Dixon and Oriol Servia to pass him. For the remaining laps of the race, Meira fought off a hard-charging Tony Kanaan to finish sixth.
Vitor also finished in sixth place last week at Nashville Superspeedway, and today's result was his fifth Top Ten of the season.
Meira moved up one position in the 2008 IndyCar Series point standings, past Manning and into the 14th position.
Vitor Meira, No. 4 Delphi National Guard:
"John Barnes made a great pit call, and we came into the pits after taking the green on the first lap to go to dry tires. That's the second time this season we've done that and both times we shot to the front. This time it put us in the lead of the race. The car was good, it was picking up some push as the race went on and I was sliding a lot at the end, but I was able to keep (Tony) Kanaan behind me at the end. We would have been a position or two better, but coming out of the pits on my last stop I had contact with one of the Ganassi cars and that let (Oriol) Servia get past me. The finish was OK, and after our luck we needed to keep finishing races. Again, we were in a position to win, and that's going to go our way soon."