Meira Signs With Foyt
September 25, 2008 | 4:06 P.M. EST
"I am definitely going into 2009 with a little extra motivation," said Meira, who competed for Panther Racing the past three seasons. "I have raced against the team for many years and have heard cool things about them. Many people would give an arm and a leg just to meet A.J. and I am getting to work with him."
In 17 starts this season, Meira recorded seven top-10 finishes with a high of second in the 92nd Indianapolis 500. Overall, Meira has 56 top-10s and 27 top-fives in 93 starts with three teams and is looking for that first victory. The move displaces Darren Manning, who had seven top-10s with a high of second at Watkins Glen this season.
"I've always admired (Meira) because he's a hard racer who charges all day long," said Foyt, the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner whose team has competed in the IndyCar Series since its inception. "He should have won a lot of races but he hasn't had the best luck. I believe we can change that and I'm looking forward to working with him."
As a team owner, Foyt won the 1999 Indianapolis 500 with Kenny Brack and the 1996 and ྞ series championships with Scott Sharp and Brack, respectively. Sharp (1996), Brack (1998), Billy Boat (1998) and Airton Dare (2002) won their first IndyCar Series races in a Foyt car.
"This first race we'll get situated with each other and we'll quickly learn where we're at, then we can know where to go -- what we need to maintain and where we need to improve," said Meira, 31, who broke into the series at Kentucky Speedway in 2002 in a Team Menard-prepared car. "My goal is to come out and win, and by that I mean to give 100 percent no matter what is happening."
Team director Larry Foyt will be Meira's race strategist at Surfers Paradise, where they'll have ample time to get to know each other better.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity to work with Vitor," said Foyt, who negotiated Meira's deal. "We're looking forward to getting Vitor his first win in the IndyCar Series and getting A.J. Foyt Racing back into Victory Lane with ABC Supply."