Race Report - Kentucky Indy 300
SPARTA, KY Oct.2, 2011—Vitor Meira and the ABC Supply team had a tough day despite having a fast car in the Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
Meira started 21st but he didn’t stay there for long. By the time of his first pit stop, he was up to 13th, picking off cars one by one. The 8.2 second stop was clean but as Meira started to leave the pit box, E.J. Viso was turning into his box which was directly ahead of Meira. Meira stopped in time to avoid hitting Viso but by the time he rejoined the field, he’d lost seven positions and was close to being lapped.
Twenty laps later he did get passed by leader Dario Franchitti as the lead pack closed in on him. However, Franchitti was the only one to pass Meira who tucked in behind and stayed with Franchitti even as second, third and fourth place cars couldn’t close in on the duo which began to break away.
A yellow for debris came out on lap 80 giving the ABC Supply crew a chance to get their lap back and also stop for fuel and fresh tires. The key would be to have a flawless pit stop. Meira received the wave around Franchitti at the start/finish line. He put the pedal to the metal and ducked into the pits while the pack circulated slowly still under caution. The ABC Supply team serviced him in less than seven seconds.
He hauled out and beat leader Franchitti to the blend line so he was able to pack up at the end of the lead lap cars before the green was thrown the next lap. Once again Meira started picking off cars and was up to 15th when the yellow came out for Simona DeSilvestro who lost control of her car after exiting her pitbox. She struck one of Viso’s pit crew members who were set out for a pit stop. The crew member suffered a leg injury.
By lap 140 the accident was cleared and the pits were opened. Meira came into his box and was serviced but he couldn’t leave because three cars – Viso, Marco Andretti and Alex Lloyd--crashed into Viso’s box which blocked Meira. The ABC Supply crew rolled him back and got him off but he was back to 17th—looking at having to re-pass the five cars he had just passed in the stint before.
Once more he began picking cars off one at a time and got up to 11th place Danica Patrick but then he lost momentum, several cars passed him and he dropped back to 16th. With 50 laps to go, the car picked up a push which was later attributed to a broken wicker on the left front wing.
The yellow came out on lap 166 for Ana Beatriz who lost control and spun hitting the wall in Turn 4. Before the restart Meira inherited a couple of spots because of drivers pitting for a splash of fuel; he was 14th on the grid. However, the problem with the front wing was magnified with all of the cars packed up--Meira slipped back to 17th in a couple of laps. As the cars strung out, he was able to pick off Tony Kanaan for 16th with three laps to go in the 200-lapper. He also slipped to 16th in the standings.
Ed Carpenter battled with Franchitti for the final 30 laps of the race to edge ahead of him at the finish line for his first ever IndyCar Series victory. Scott Dixon finished third ahead of James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
On Monday, Meira heads off to Hawaii where he and Tony Kanaan will compete in the Ironman competition next Saturday, Oct. 8th. The 1800-participant competition can be followed on ironmanlive.com. It will be televised on Dec. 10th on NBC.
The final race of the IZOD IndyCar Series will take place in Las Vegas where the championship title will be decided between Franchitti andPower. It will be televised live on ABC-TV on Sunday, Oct. 16th starting at 3:00 pm.Meira Will Start 21st in Kentucky Indy 300
SPARTA, KY Oct. 1, 2011--Vitor Meira will start deep in the pack but he believes he has the car to finish up front in the Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway as the IZOD IndyCar Series runs its penultimate race of the season Sunday afternoon.
Meira opened with a strong run in the ABC Supply car, posting a 219.2mph lap which was the second quickest speed in the first practice session. Meira was running in heavy traffic which helped the speed but also made him confident about his race set-up as he passed cars inside and out throughout the session. The next practice session he ran laps in the 217-range in qualifying trim and did not have the benefit of drafting as the team simulated a qualifying run.
In qualifying, Meira posted two laps just over 216 mph for an average speed of 216.300 mph which dropped him to 21st on the 29-car grid.
“In our race configuration we were very competitive,” Meira said. “The ABC Supply car was very good in traffic. Qualifying didn’t go like we thought so we’ll just have to go back and figure out what happened. We’ll definitely run better tomorrow. Last year we had a so-so qualifying run and had to race to the front so we will have to do it again tomorrow.”
IndyCar Series point leader Will Power won his eighth pole of the season which ties the IndyCar Series record for poles won in a season, but not the all-time record of 10 poles held by A.J. Foyt since 1965. Power posted a two-lap average speed of 219.283mph. Dario Franchitti and teammate Scott Dixon who are the only other contenders for this season’s title will start 11th and 7th respectively.
The Kentucky Indy 300 will be televised live on Versus starting at 2 p.m. ET tomorrow.
NOTES & QUOTES: Kentucky Indy 300
• Vitor Meira on Kentucky: “It’s a normal 1.5 mile oval in a lot of ways but it can be really bumpy and it changes a lot from year to year so it can be very tricky because of the bumps. Also, it is a very fast track because it has good grip. Overall, I think the Kentucky oval with its side-by-side racing is the soul of the IRL. The IndyCar Series became known for that type of racing because of tracks like Kentucky. We’ve been going there for a long time and it’s the track where I did my first IndyCar race, so it’s a very special track for me.”
• Meira on the key to Kentucky: “You need a consistently good car in traffic. Obviously you have to have a fast car and I think we’ll have that. What we’re going to focus on is having a consistently good car in traffic.”
• Meira made his IndyCar debut at Kentucky in 2002. He remembers: “I have very, very good memories of Kentucky. It was my first oval track race. The learning curve was just so steep and I had so much to learn. It was the first time I raced on an oval, the first time I did pit stops, my first time for wheel-to-wheel racing, so I had a lot to learn. We had 25 cars and I ended up finishing 13th which was good and the reason is, I learned a lot.”
• Race Driver to Ironman: Meira (along with fellow driver Tony Kanaan) will fly to Hawaii on Monday, Oct. 2 to compete in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona on Saturday, Oct. 8. The record, set by professional triathlete Luc Van Lierde of Belgium in 1996, is 8 hours, 54 minutes, 2 seconds for the grueling contest which consists of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles in succession. Meira would be happy to finish the competition, which begins at 7 a.m., in daylight or under a total time of 11 hours. Meira will fly to Las Vegas on Tuesday, Oct. 11 as he prepares to compete in the IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 16.
• ABC Supply roofing customer Design Roofing, LLC in Hurricane, WV won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Kentucky Indy 300. The company name will be atop the sidepods of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda. Owner Todd Townsend will receive selected merchandise, race tickets, hospitality and garage passes, plus a Meet and Greet with Vitor Meira and A.J. Foyt. The “Your Name Here” promotion selected winners by random drawing from a pool of entries sent in by ABC Supply customers earlier this year.
• Russ Boone will be the ABC Supply Honorary Crew Member of the race this weekend. Boone, 37, is a delivery service manager and has worked for ABC Supply for six years. He lives in Batavia, OH with his wife Allison and their three children.
• Kentucky performance: In 2010, Meira started 12th and was running in the top 10 racing Ryan Briscoe when Meira and Simona DeSilvestro, whom he was lapping, tangled. No one was injured but it ended the night for all three drivers. The team’s best finish in 10 races was fifth in 2001 with Donnie Beechler and their best start was second in 2000 with Eliseo Salazar. In six races, Meira’s best finish was second in 2005 with his best start of second coming in 2008.
• The Kentucky Indy 300 will be shown live at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday on Versus.
• For more information on the Foyt Racing program, please check these web sites: www.ajfoytracing.com and abcsupply.com.