Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Response From Panther Racing

Last week, I wrote a blog about the recent struggles of Panther Racing as they have not won a race since the 2005 Indycar season with Tomas Scheckter. Upon publishing this, I received a response from Panther Racing PR Mike Kitchel aka "Kitch".

Now, I'm not sure about some other teams would respond to a negative blog towards them, nor do I want to find out, but I feel like some people affiliated with teams would begin to call me every name in the book as they chuck bricks at my face. It has happened before. But Kitch responded to the article via email with valid points as to why Panther is still a great team in a classy and well written manner.

Some points Kitch makes, which are 100% accurate and supportive of his arguement, is that despite not winning, Panther drivers have finished second place nine times since their last win, including 15 podiums with four different drivers. Those include four straight runner-up finishes at the Indianapolis 500 with Vitor Meira in 2008, Dan Wheldon in 2009 and 2010, and JR Hildebrand in 2011. Can't argue with that.

There has also been some rotten luck at Panther. In 2010, the team was dominating the race at Kentucky with driver Dan Wheldon behind the wheel. Dan led a total of 93 laps before suffering a fuel pressure issue in the pits, thus robbing him of a win. Other unlucky situations and losing out on photo finishes have taken wins from Panther, but they are certainly on winning form.

Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon - Kentucky Indy 300
Dan Wheldon chases Scott Dixon at Kentucky in 2010 (Photo: Chris Graythen)

But despite all of these instances, Kitch says Indycar is still a sport about winning, as he is not just making excuses for the team. But make no mistake, Panther Racing has been by no means bad since 2005. When will they end they're winless drought? Time will tell.

Thanks again to Kitch for rational and well written response. And of course the week I question them, they finish fifth the next race (Long Beach). Here's hoping they have a great rest of the season!

-Matthew Hickey

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