Vitor Meira


Vitor Meira

Infobox racing driver
name = Vitor Meira



pixels =
caption = Meira in 2008
nationality = BRA
date of birth = Birth date and age|1977|3|27
place of birth = Brasília, Brazil
date of death =
retired =
related to =
current series = IRL IndyCar Series
first year = 2002
current team = Panther Racing
car number = 4
former teams = Team Menard
Rahal Letterman Racing
starts = 93
wins = 0
poles = 2
fastest laps =
best finish = 5th
year = 2006
prev series =
prev series years =
titles = Formula Three Sudamericana
title years = 2000
awards = Scott Brayton Trophy
award years = 2008

Vitor Meira (born March 27, 1977 in Brasília, Brazil) is an auto racing driver currently competing in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. He is best known for twice finishing second in the Indianapolis 500.

After participating in an open test for Panther Racing at Texas Motor Speedway in 2002, he made his Indy Racing League debut with Team Menard on August 11, 2002 at Kentucky Speedway. A little over a month later, Vitor won his first career pole at Texas Motor Speedway just after four starts and finished a very respectable third.

IndyCar Series

2003

In 2003, Meira ran his first start of the year for Team Menard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he finished 12th as a rookie in the Indianapolis 500 Meira then ran the next seven races in the #2 Johns Manville powered Dallara Chevrolet, until a practice crash at Kentucky Speedway sidelined him for the next three races. After recovering from his wrist injury he suffered at Kentucky, Vitor ran the final two races of the season.

2004

In 2004, Meira missed the first two races of the season before a race-by-race deal was presented to Meira by Rahal-Letterman Racing. After Vitor's disappointing finish of 17th in Indy Japan 300, where he suffered a clutch problem, he ran the rest of the season in the #17 G-Force sponsored by Centrix Financial. At The Milwaukee Mile, on July 25, 2004, Meira earned his second career pole.

2005

Rahal-Letterman Racing signed Meira to a three-year contract in 2005, with backing from longtime supporter, Johns Manville and Menards. His most notable race finish was second to Dan Wheldon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Despite being cast aside in the media for fellow teammates, Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick, Meira gave Rahal-Letterman Racing their best final point standing finish of seventh as well as recording seven top five and eleven top ten finishes for the team. After losing a majority of the funds for the #17 car, Rahal-Letterman needed a driver who had sponsorship with them. For Meira, that meant losing his ride to the late Paul Dana, who brought Ethanol sponsorship.

2006

Going in to 2006, Meira was looking to moving back to Brazil and run stock cars for fellow Brazilian and IndyCar competitor, Helio Castroneves' team. But just as he was getting ready to pack his bags for Brasilia, he received a phone call from Panther Racing owner, John Barnes. Even though Panther had lost their longtime sponsor, Pennzoil, as well as engine supplier, Chevrolet, the owners (John Barnes, Mike Griffin, Jim Harbaugh, and Doug Boles), sold off old cars, parts, and equipment to keep the team running. After much speculation of the team closing its doors in Indianapolis, the news came on February 10, 2006 that Panther Racing and Meira signed a deal to run the famous #4 for the 2006 IndyCar season. Throughout 2006, Panther Racing and Meira had a plethora of sponsors on the side of their Honda powered Dallara. Econova, Network Live, Harrah's, Lincoln Tech, and Revive all adorned the sidepods of the brightly colored orange car during the 2006 season. Despite not winning a race in 2006, Meira finished a career best of fifth in the IndyCar point standings after finishing the season with seven top five and twelve top ten finishes. Even though he hasn't won a race in over 50 starts, he has finished second seven times in his career.

2007

After signing a three-year contract with Panther Racing in 2008, Meira will be sponsored by longtime IndyCar participant, Delphi Corporation, who signed a two-year deal with the team. Unlike 2006, Meira and Panther will go back to a two-car IndyCar effort in 2007 as well as bringing back a car into the Indy Pro Series. For 2007, Aguri Suzuki brought over driver, Kosuke Matsuura and main sponsor, Panasonic, from the defunct Fernandez Racing. The car will carry number 55, and will be badged run under the Super Aguri Panther Racing banner. With Suzuki's help, he brought the talent of Hideki Mutoh to the eyes of Panther Racing. Mutoh, was the lone Panther Racing entry in the Indy Pro Series.

Meira, who became engaged to longtime girlfriend, Adriana, in March 2006, were married at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas on March 22, 2008.

2008

Meira returned to Panther Racing in 2008 where the United States National Guard became the car's primary sponsor and Delphi became a secondary one. However, the team again contracted to a single car in the IndyCar Series as the Aguri and their sponsorship took Mutoh to the IndyCar Series with Andretti Green Racing rather than Panther.

Meira finished second in the 2008 running of the Indianapolis 500 matching his second place finish in 2005. Meira chased the eventual winner, Scott Dixon, closing the gap to as little as 0.4 seconds until losing ground due to late race traffic. Meira set his fastest lap on lap 195 of 200.

Just recently it was announced that Vitor Meira's #4 seat will be filled by Dan Wheldon in 2009. Panther has said if they can find the funding for a second team Vitor is welcome to stay, however that is highly unlikely. Vitor is officially racing for A. J. Foyt Enterprises in 2009.

Motorsports Career Results

American Open-Wheel

() (Races in bold indicate pole position)

IndyCar

References

External links

* [http://www.vitormeira.com/ Vitor Meira's official site]


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