Watkins Glen: Panther Racing preview

Wheldon's IndyCar Turns Camo for Watkins Glen, Fourth of July eekend National Guard to Celebrate Holiday with Panther Racing at Upstate NY Road Course INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 1, 2009) -- In celebration of Fourth of July during this weekend's ...

Wheldon's IndyCar Turns Camo for Watkins Glen, Fourth of July eekend
National Guard to Celebrate Holiday with Panther Racing at Upstate NY Road Course

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 1, 2009) -- In celebration of Fourth of July during this weekend's Camping World GP at the Glen, Dan Wheldon's National Guard Panther Racing No. 4 IndyCar will be returning to its camouflage paint scheme, but for this weekend in will be in the Air National Guard's ABU (Airmen Battle Uniform) camo.

The unique "tiger stripe" camo pattern is much different from the Army's digital ACU camo livery the team utilized last month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Another adjustment is that the logos on the car will now all be in color, after all logos where in black and white on the car for Indianapolis. The livery is an intricate vinyl wrap that is sprayed with clear coat. The camo pattern is also worn by the United States Air Force.

Wheldon and his Panther team have posted seven consecutive Top 10 finishes , but both driver and team have their sights set much higher. In addition to his streak of Top Ten finishes, Wheldon has also posted three Top Five finishes and currently ranks sixth in the IndyCar Series point standings. The team's first Top Five of the season came on the Streets of Long Beach and Wheldon is looking for similar success this weekend in Watkins Glen.

In four starts at the scenic upstate New York track, Wheldon has never started outside the top ten and recorded a best finish of fifth in his first start there in 2005. Panther recorded its best finish at Watkins in 2006 when former driver Vitor Meira finished second. Meira led four laps there last year before being taken out of the race by E.J. Viso, who was penalized for "avoidable contact" after his incident with the National Guard car.

The weekend will also feature Saturday's Firestone Indy Lights event, where Panther drivers Martin Plowman and Pippa Mann will return to the track after last competing at Iowa Speedway two weeks ago. Like the IndyCar Series, this will be the first Indy Lights race on a non-oval track since Long Beach in April. In 2007, Panther collected a second place and a sixth place result at Watkins Glen with former developmental driver Hideki Mutoh, who is currently driving for Andretti Green Racing.

Plowman currently ranks 15th in the Indy Lights championship chase and Pippa is in the 17th position in the standings.

The Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen will be broadcast live on ABC on Sunday, July 5th at 1 p.m. with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and Sirius XM Channel 211.

Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda

"I'm excited about returning to the road courses. The Panther car's setup on road courses is much more suited to my style than perhaps some of the teams I've driven for in the past. We've featured very strongly at both St. Pete and Long Beach, so I'm excited to get back into that road course mindset. It's going to be a real challenge at Watkins Glen, we just have one hour of practice before qualifying, so we'll hope to roll off the truck strong and contend for that win this weekend."

Wheldon on the Camo Car:

"I'm honored to carry that camo paint scheme again this weekend in Watkins Glen. The National Guard is very passionate about their racing programs, rather it be IndyCar or NASCAR and this Fourth of July weekend is a big one for us. Everybody knows the Indianapolis 500 is a race a love very much, but it was honestly different this year being in the camo colors. But the car I'm racing this weekend is a bit different, but I really like the way the Air Guard camo looks on the No. 4 car."

Martin Plowman, No. 15 Firestone Indy Lights

"I can't wait to get out on track at the Glen this weekend. It looks like quite a fast, challenging circuit and similar to my favorite European tracks like Spa and Mugello. With only 45mins of free practice before qualifying we will have to work hard and efficiently on getting up to speed, learning the track and on our car setup to be ready against the more experienced drivers and teams. We've had a few races not go our way this year when we have been running in the top 6, so it's time for a strong weekend!"

Pippa Mann, No. 16 Firestone Indy Lights

"After the string of oval course races that we had in the Lights series I'm excited about going to Watkins Glen. Everyone says that it's a very "European" track with all kinds of elevation changes, so I'm looking forward to our first practice session. I've been playing it on iRace to kind of get a hand of it and I can say that it looks like a very demanding and interesting circuit. Although we've been fast over the past oval races, we didn't exactly finish the races the way we expected, so going to a more European style of race might be the fresh start that we are looking for."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dan Wheldon , Pippa Mann , Martin Plowman , Hideki Mutoh , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing