Meira Climbs to Sixth Position at Nashville Superspeedway Delphi National Guard Driver Moves from 15th to Lead Pack LEBANON, Ten. (July 12, 2008) -- Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira made his way through the field Saturday night at Nashville...
Meira Climbs to Sixth Position at
Delphi National Guard Driver Moves from 15th to Lead Pack
LEBANON, Ten. (July 12, 2008) -- Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira made his way through the field Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway, where the Delphi National Guard driver sliced and diced his way to the front of the field. After running as high as third, Vitor finished in sixth place in the rain-shortened Firestone Indy 200 after several drivers gambled with fuel strategy because of the weather conditions.
Meira started all the way back in 15th-place, but he didn't stay there long; taking two positions at the green flag, another two by the third lap and moving all the way up to ninth by just the 12th lap of the race. On a 1.33-mile track that is traditionally a difficult place to pass, Meira had little trouble. He went three-wide to pass former teammate Hideki Mutoh (Lap 55), and snuck underneath Ed Carpenter (Lap 47) and Dan Wheldon (Lap 68) on the main straightaway to reach fourth position.
After Danica Patrick had a bobble coming off Turn Four, Meira shot past her and into third place just moments before a caution period for moisture. The team debated if they should bring the No. 4 car in the pits, but followed Tony Kanaan, the race leader, into the pit box. Scott Dixon and Wheldon remained on the race course in anticipation of the rain. The gamble by the Ganassi drivers paid off, as rain showers returned 14 laps later and the race was checkered.
Meira improved three positions in the championship standings, jumping from 18th to 15th in the points race. Considering the misfortune the team has encountered in the last month, they remain well within sight of the Top Ten points contenders.
Vitor Meira, No. 4 Delphi National Guard:
"It was a good day for us. The car started to get pushy on us late in the race but that was because the track was getting better. After the bad stretch we've been through, this is just what we needed to rebound. We have been solid everywhere we've been, it's just a matter of staying out of trouble. It was a race against time tonight, and a nerve wracking race, but we made some calls and it ended well."