Panther Racing announced today that Scott Sharp will be driving a second car for them at Indy this year in the #16 Tequila Patrón Panther Racing Honda Dallara.
If you recall, Scott has had some success at Indy, sitting on the pole in 2001. Don’t investigate that one too much though because you will uncover the fact that he wrecked on the first lap going into turn 1. His best result at Indy came in 2007 driving for Rahal when he finished 6th overall.
Scott has started 146 IndyCar races racking up 9 wins and 6 poles. Last year was his first full season in ALMS. This came to an end though after the 2007 season when Scott left Rahal Letterman Racing, taking his Patron sponsorship to ALMS (amid much legal wrangling). Along with his teammate David Brabham, he was able to score 4 LMP2 class wins and one overall win in 2008.
Scott’s May schedule may be very interesting though. He will be participating in the full month of May, but special emphasis will have to be placed on qualifying the car during the first weekend. Scott is needed for an ALMS race at Miller Motorsport Park during the last weekend of qualifications, so Panther will be working extra hard to try and get him qualified early so as not to cause schedule conflicts.
Panther has certainly lost a step in the last couple of seasons from the glory days when Sam Hornish was stealing championships from the big dogs, but they certainly have shown a strong commitment this season to return to their winning ways. Dan Wheldon is a formidable driver on any oval, especially Indy, and with the talent and experience that Scott Sharp adds to the team, they easily place Panther as a dark horse possibility for milk.
2 Thoughts to “IndyCar – Sharp Returns to Indy”
“His best result at Indy came in 2007 driving for Rahal when he finished 6th overall.”
I find it ironic that his best Indy finish came during the same year that he and his sponsor sued his then team, RLR, for breach-of-contract stating that they did not give him a competitive car. He seemed plenty competitive to me.
Yeah, that was a weird arrangement in the first place. Sharp was somewhat like one of these funded Indy only rides at that team. Rahal was preparing the car for Scott, but the funding was from elsewhere (kinda like the RPM deal for John Andretti, except for a full season.) I heard it described as Scott Sharp being his own independent team run out of Rahal’s shop.
With that kind of strange arrangement on the front end, it was even stranger to see Scott sue the team for release from their contract. If memory serves me correct, Rahal countersued and won the lawsuit and collected an undisclosed amount of damages.
But that 6th was an outlier, Rahal’s team did under perform in 2007
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