Panther Teams With Tyler Walker for Copper World Classic INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Panther Racing is leaving for Phoenix this week, and it's not because they're moving out early for the IndyCar Series' Phoenix Open Test. Instead, Panther's ...
Panther Teams With Tyler Walker for Copper World Classic
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Panther Racing is leaving for Phoenix this week, and it's not because they're moving out early for the IndyCar Series' Phoenix Open Test. Instead, Panther's USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown team - led by Chief Mechanic Davey Jones - will run driver Tyler Walker in the 2005 Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway on Jan. 29-30.
"I'm really excited to work with Panther Racing and Davey Jones," Walker said recently. "They are such an amazing organization and I'm thrilled to be a part of that."
Walker, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles, Calif., recently signed with Atkins Motorsports to share duties with NASCAR Nextel Cup standout Kasey Kahne in the NASCAR Busch Series for the 2005 season. In 2004 Walker raced for Kahne's newly-formed race team in the Silver Crown series, and won three of the final four races. Walker took home victories in the Tulsa 100, the Ted Horn 100 at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and the Bully Hill Vineyards 100 at Nazareth Speedway. Walker was so dominate during those last four races, he led both DuQuoin and Tulsa wire-to-wire, and at one point had led 220 straight laps dating back to his victory at Nazareth.
His success in 2004 came after being named Silver Crown's "Most Improved Driver" after finishing 5th in the 2003 standings. In 2002, Walker was the World of Outlaws Gumout Series Champion, and during the season he moved into a tie for first place on the Gumout Series' all-time victory list in "A" Features, with a total of 11 wins.
"I'm really, really excited about running Tyler this weekend," Panther Silver Crown chief mechanic Davey Jones said. "He and I go way back, and Tyler's as good as any driver out there in a Silver Crown car. The first time he ran with me in a Sprint Car was back in the late 1990s at Eldora and we finished fourth, so we know we're working with a helluva driver. We're both looking forward to some good things at Phoenix this weekend."
Last season with Dane Carter behind the wheel the Panther Silver Crown team qualified for the Copper World Classic in the 20th position and finished the race in 12th. Dave Steele -- who raced in the IndyCar Series with Panther Racing for two races in 1998 -- was the winner. The Panther team competed in only the pavement races last season with Carter. The agreement between Panther and Walker is currently for only the Copper World Classic, but it is possible the two could team up again later in the year.
Jones currently splits his time between the Silver Crown car and his duties as a mechanic on Tomas Enge's #2 Panther Chevrolet in the IndyCar Series. Davey is the son of racing legend Bubby Jones, who recorded 22 USAC Sprint Car victories in addition to multiple wins in Midgets and Silver Crown cars. Bubby Jones finished 21st in the 1977 Indianapolis 500.
Did You Know?
Panther Racing tested Kasey Kahne at Texas Motor Speedway in the IndyCar Series Pennzoil Panther #4 after the conclusion of the 2000 season. Kahne had recently won the USAC National Midget Car Championship in impressive fashion, which earned him the test with Panther.
Panther Tracks: Tyler Walker was born in Los Angeles, Calif. and currently lives in Mooresville, NC. His hobbies include skateboarding, motorcycles and snowboarding. His hero is Michael Jordan and his first job was working as a janitor in his father's shop. His favorite track is I-55 Raceway in Pevely, MO and his deep racing desire is to some day compete in Formula One. He began driving go-karts at 10 years old, and won over 200 go-kart races and four California go-kart State Championships between 1992-1996.