Panther Racing Hunts for Another Victory after California
HPC-Sponsored Vitor Meira Wins Hard Earned Podium Finish at Sonoma.
Sonoma, Ca. (August 27, 2006) – For Vitor Meira of the HPC-sponsored Revive USA Team Panther Racing, patience and daring paid off this past weekend with a podium finish.
Meira qualified 8th in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma race and managed to pull off another incredible third place finish. Utilizing a bold late-race pass, at a track that has very little room for maneuvering, Meira drove his way around drivers Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan.
“I just went for it,” Meira said. “I out-braked (Castroneves) going into (turn) nine while Kanaan went into the pits. That was the best 10 laps I’ve ever had in an Indy-car. It’s tough to pass here, and that was a risky move, but with this team behind me I had no doubt.”
Even though the win left the Brazilian-born driver a mere 58 points behind Castroneves, the current leader in IRL point standings, Panther Racing was eliminated from the title chase. However, with seven top-five finishes this season, Meira and his team have moved from being the IRL’s underdog to becoming a serious contender in the league.
“It was another great run for the Lincoln Tech Panther team,” Meira said. “It was because of Panther Racing and my team that I was able to be so strong in the closing laps of the race. They were holding me back early and that’s why I feel like we were so good at the end.”
Despite beginning the season with no major sponsors, the crew at Panther Racing have managed to fight their way to the top five in point standings and add eleven top-ten finishes to their resume. They also have a good chance at finishing fourth in point standings at the season’s final race to be held at the Chicagoland Speedway in Chicago, Ill.
“Vitor Meira has proven himself to be one of the best drivers in the IRL,” said Paul Clayson, CEO of HPC. “Week after week, Vitor and the HPC-sponsored Revive USA Team Panther Racing out drove, and out maneuvered multiple teams with far higher levels of team funding. Their success has re-established focus on the driver and the team engineers as the principle points of success in the IRL racing world.”
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.
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 where he is currently in 5th place for point standings. Meira and the Panther Racing team will travel next to Chicago for the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300.
HPC congratulates Vitor Meira and Team Panther racing for their hard fought 3rd place finish at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma and wish them the best of luck at Chicagoland!
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.