HPC Underdog Set to Win 2006 IRL Championship
HPC-Sponsored Vitor Meira of Team Panther Seeks to Win Championship.
Brooklyn, Mich. (August 11, 2006) –Vitor Meira of HPC-sponsored Revive USA Team Panther racing is accustomed to giving the competition a run for their money. With six top-five finishes this season alone and 21 over his career in the IRL, Meira is used to having race leaders glancing in their rear view to see his No. 4 creeping up on them.
Take Helio Castroneves for example. Castroneves, who won the Firestone Indy 400 at the Michigan International Speedway, said he had to “drive like a maniac” the final 20 laps to keep Meira’s No. 4 Honda-powered Dallara at bay.
Meira held off Castroneves during the first two thirds of the race, but the Marlboro Team Penske driver got ahead of the No. 4 car during pit stops on Lap 130.
“With 10 (laps) to go, I thought everything was good, but I saw an orange dot in my mirror, and I couldn’t believe (Meira) caught us like that,” said Castroneves, who edged a win over the Panther car by 1.6229 seconds.
“Panther Racing gave 110 percent today,” Vitor said. “We are doing it week in and week out at any track with any aero configuration. This is what makes us champions and winners, and that’s what we have here at Panther. Everything we do is working perfectly.”
The word on the street (or pits in this case): Meira can do this.
After setting a track race record of 193.972 mph, Meira and the Revive USA Team Panther group is seeking to repeat former IRL Champion Scott Dixon’s famous 2003 comeback.
With three races to go in the 2003 season, Dixon trailed Helio Castroneves by 42 points – a comparable margin to where Vitor sits presently. In his last three starts Dixon didn’t even win a race, but he stayed consistent, finishing in second place in all three events. Not only did he vault himself to the top of the championship standings, but he beat Gil de Ferran for the championship by 18 points, and was 23 points ahead of Castroneves at season’s end.
HPC began working with Team Panther in 1999. The international coatings company worked closely with the team’s engineers to utilize HPC’s HiperCoat Extreme™ exhaust coating for heat management and HPC’s friction reducing coatings on internal engine parts to maximize engine and car performance. HPC coatings have been used by 14 Indianapolis 500 winners and helped power 2006 Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish, Jr. to his two IRL Championships in 2001 and 2002.
Born in Brazil, Meira began driving in the IRL in 2002 for Andretti/Green Racing team. The next year he signed on with Rahal Letterman Racing where he was awarded the inaugural IRL Rising Star award. In 2005 he signed on with Team Panther and has continued to move up in the Indy Racing League’s rankings. Meira and the Panther Racing team will travel next to the Kentucky Speedway for the Kentucky Indy 300.
HPC congratulates Vitor Meira and Team Panther racing for their 2nd place finish at the Michigan International Raceway and wish them the best of luck at the upcoming race!
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HPC is the leader in innovative coating technology. HPC develops, manufactures and applies coating (surface treatment) solutions for thermal management, anti-corrosion, friction reduction, and color appearance. Now in its twenty-fourth year, the company’s coatings are used by legends in the motorsport racing world as well as by the US Military and the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA). HPC is a market leader in internal and external engine parts coatings in automotive and diesel engines. At HPC, there IS a difference…and the difference is experience.