Mutoh Puts On Another Indy Show; Steals Podium Finish in Liberty Challenge Race Two Indy Pro Series Rookie Drives From Eighth to Third; Takes Podium in Final Turn INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 17, 2007) -- Super Aguri Panther Racing driver Hideki...
Mutoh Puts On Another Indy Show; Steals Podium Finish in Liberty
Challenge Race Two
Indy Pro Series Rookie Drives From Eighth to Third; Takes Podium in Final Turn
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 17, 2007) -- Super Aguri Panther Racing driver Hideki Mutoh followed-up his first career victory with a strong drive to the podium in Sunday's Liberty Challenge Race Two at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he finished third.
Hideki started eighth after drawing the "eight" card following his win on Saturday, which inverted the top eight positions' for today race. The starting position was a disadvantage for Mutoh, but he quickly jumped to sixth place in the Speedway's first turn, and was inside the Top Five after a restart on Lap three.
From there, Mutoh was determined to reach the Top Three.
He slid past Wade Cunningham just two laps later for fourth place, narrowly avoiding contact with the former race winner. Once he reached fourth position, Hideki battled with Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates Alex Lloyd and Ryan Justice. Once Lloyd passed Justice and went on a hunt for eventual winner Bobby Wilson, Mutoh set his sights on overtaking Justice for third position.
After he flirted with late-braking Justice in the first corner of laps 17 and 18, Hideki instead waited until the last of the 2.605-mile road courses 13 turns. There, Hideki drafted past Justice on the Speedway's front straightaway and edged past him at the line, collecting his fourth podium finish in seven career starts.
With Lloyd's second place finish, Mutoh loses just a little ground but remains in second place in the 2007 Indy Pro Series point standings, trailing the SSM driver by 106 points.
For Panther, Mutoh has continued a dominant run in the Indy Pro Series. Combined with Mark Taylor's championship run in 2003, the team has collected a remarkable 12 podium finishes and 16 Top Five results in just 18 career starts.
"Since we started eighth, I just concentrated on moving up as much as possible during the race. I'm happy that we wound up third without a crash or having any problems. We didn't win like we did yesterday but I had a lot of fun moving to the front today. I know that all my mechanics on this race weekend never give up until the checkered flag and that's what I wanted to do for the Super Aguri Panther guys. I have to thank everybody on my team because they've worked so hard and they've given me the power to race until the last lap."