Driver History

 

Scott Goodyear

Open-wheel star Goodyear was the first driver to debut Panther’s No. 4 car in 1998 and brought home Panther’s first career victory at Phoenix International Raceway in 1999. He started the team’s dominance at Texas Motor Speedway, where he collected his other two victories while driving for Panther. He finished second in the 2000 championship to future Panther driver Buddy Lazier. Currently the color commentator for the ABC/ESPN television broadcast.

Dave Steele

Steele was hired on to drive the final two races of the 1998 season along side Goodyear.  Steele however would run only 81 laps for Panther as an accident in Texas and a suspension problem in Las Vegas forced him out of the races.

Sam Hornish Jr.

Little known Defiance, Ohio native was hand-picked by Panther owner John Barnes to replace Scott Goodyear after the 2000 season. Hornish Jr. won races in his first two starts with the team, was back-to-back IndyCar Series Champion in 2001 & 2002 and became the winningest driver in league history with 11 victories in Panther’s No. 4 car. Still holds record for winning closest 1-2 finish and closest 1-2-3 finishes in league history. His 2002 duel with Helio Castroneves at Texas Motor Speedway is arguably the best race in the league’s history and secured Panther’s second league title. Still remains at the top of nearly all the team’s records.

Dan Wheldon

The future Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Champion was another young talent spotted by Panther’s John Barnes, who gave the Briton his first IndyCar ride at the end of the 2002 season. A teammate with Hornish while at Panther, the two future Indianapolis 500 winners made for a duo of future open-wheel superstars. Wheldon scored a Top Ten finish in his final start with the team at Texas Motor Speedway.

Billy Boat

Experienced open-wheel veteran and longtime friend of Panther Racing got his only start for the team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where a mechanical problem relegated him to a 32nd-place finish.

Robby McGehee

Late addition to Panther’s lineup in the 2003 Indianapolis 500, McGehee moved up quickly from his 31st starting position, but a steering problem forced the veteran into the 25th spot on the final grid.

Mark Taylor

Panther's 2003 Indy Pro Series champion struggled in the IndyCar Series, crashing out of five of his six starts. Taylor recorded his best career finish of 12th at Phoenix International Raceway. After being replaced following his sixth start with Panther, Taylor finished his only season in the IndyCar Series for Access Motorsports.

Tomas Scheckter

Speedy South African will be remembered for a dominating victory in the 2005 race at Texas Motor Speedway. Scheckter set a team record for poles in a season with three in 2005, and highlighted the 89th Running of the Indianapolis 500 by passing six cars a single move. While he will be remembered for his unbelievable streak of DNFs and near-victories, Scheckter became the IndyCar Series “Mr. Excitement” while driving Panther’s No. 4 car.

Townsend Bell

Flashy Californian replaced Mark Taylor after six races in 2004 and finished fifth in his second start with the team at Nashville Superspeedway. Bell returned as a one-race replacement for injured Tomas Enge in 2005 and crashed at Michigan.

Tomas Enge

Former Formula One driver, and pride of the Czech Republic, proved to be a quick study on the American oval circuit. Enge overcame two separate injuries in his lone season in the team’s RockStar No. 2 car to finish second in the Rookie of the Year battle with Danica Patrick. He started on the front row at Texas in his rookie season and despite an electrical issue, set the fastest lap of the race. Recorded a career best finish of fifth at Infineon Raceway that season.

Buddy Lazier

The 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2000 IndyCar Series champion was a pleasant addition to the team when he finished fifth in the 90th Indianapolis 500 – Panther’s best career result at the ‘500’. After Lazier’s impressive performance he returned for five more starts in the No. 95 car, recording Top Ten finishes in all but one of his starts.

Vitor Meira

The skillful and calculating Meira became the new face of Panther Racing in 2006, when the Brazilian put the No. 4 back at the front with 12 Top Tens, 7 Top Fives and six podium finishes in his first year with the team. His fifth place finish in the championship standings was the team’s best result in over three years, and his consistency remains unmatched in the league. He is arguably the series’ most likeable driver, and his on-track ability unquestioned.

Kosuke Matsura

The former Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year joined Panther in 2007 to drive its No. 55 Panasonic Panther entry. Despite equaling his career-best finish of fourth at Michigan Speedway with Panther, Matsuura encountered more bad luck in a season than many drivers experience in a career, including being taken out by the same driver in three races.

Hideki Mutoh

Likeable Japanese driver from Tokyo continued Panther’s dominance in the Indy Pro Series, and captured the team’s first career victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Liberty Challenge. After his first oval win at Kentucky Speedway, Mutoh made his IndyCar Series debut at Chicagoland Speedway driving the No. 60 Formula Dream Panther Dallara.

John Andretti

Panther welcomed NASCAR race winner John Andretti back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007 and helped the Indy native get back up to speed and qualify for the 91st Indianapolis 500 after a 12-year hiatus from open-wheel racing. John became the fourth member of the Andretti family to work with Panther team owner John Barnes.

Brent Sherman

Former U.S. Air Force member and NASCAR driver Brent Sherman reversed the trend, leaving the stock car ranks, where he competed in the 2006 Daytona 500, to join the Firestone Indy Lights Series with Panther Racing.

Dillon Battistini

Coming to the United States for the first time, former Asian Formula 3 champion Dillon Battistini crossed the pond to join Panther Racing in the Firestone Indy Lights Series where he has thus far proved his worth by winning four races.