Panther bites back at Viso

Posted by Iannucci | 7/08/2008 | 4 comments »
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Attention HVM Racing: The Panther Racing team is declaring war on you via the press release.

EJ VISO RUNS MEIRA OFF THE ROAD AT WATKINS GLEN RACE, FORCES PANTHER TO 22ND PLACE FINISH

IndyCar Series’ Mobile Hazard Penalized for Running Meira Off Track

“He’s a driver that everybody out here has had a problem with, and it’s about time the Indy Racing League does something about it,” Vitor said. “He’s dangerous. He’s caused problems on oval tracks and now he’s causing problems on road courses. I feel bad for the Delphi National Guard guys because the car was so good and somebody like him just screws it up for all of us.”
Well, not everyone, according this recent article in USAToday.

"He's a fantastic driver," Indianapolis 500 winner and points leader Scott Dixon says. "Him in a decent car would be a threat to everybody."

"His car was sideways but he still was keeping his foot (on the accelerator)," (Dan) Wheldon says. "It was supremely impressive. He's building a reputation for having (lots of guts), and that's good. We need those personalities to keep growing the series."

"Early on, he was reckless," driver Justin Wilson says. "Now he's more fearless."
Whether he intentionally hip-checked the Mirror Man or whether Viso simply got loose for a moment, you gotta hand it to the young Venezuelan for once again finding a way to get into a discussion without wrecking his own equipment. After an accident in the season opener in Homestead he's been running at the end of every race this year except for Indy, where a gearbox issue halted an impressive run.

And after suffering misfortunes with Franck Perera (St Pete), Marco Andretti (Milwaukee) and John Andretti (Richmond) it's easy to sympathize with Panther, but the fact is Viso currently sits in 13th in the championship standings while Meira is 18th, 15 points behind EJ. Just sayin'.

UPDATE: The braintrust at TSO says that despite the glowing words from Dixon, Wheldon and Wilson, Mr Viso may now be under the dreaded double-secret probation:

In other news, we have heard that multiple teams have now filed official complaints about EJ Viso's driving. As we've all known since the start of the year, the young Venezuelan driver is quick, but not always courteous or mindful of his situations on the track.

No confirmation on rumors that he is "officially" on probation, but right now, the only surprise would be if he is NOT on probation.

4 comments

  1. Doug // July 09, 2008 6:03 AM  

    Once Mr. Viso learns selective aggression, I'll be more lenient, but until then I'm siding with Vitor. EJ has talent, but he must learn to control that talent or he'll become another Kevin Cogan. Briscoe, I think, is the prime example of what can happen when a talented, but reckless, driver learns patience and how to be selective with their aggression. I used to bash Briscoe quite a bit, but lately he's racecraft has shown huge improvements. This is what Viso needs to do if he's to be respected by his peers and his fans. EJ isn't the only overly aggressive driver out there, though, and Vitor was quite correct that the league needs to take a stronger stance on reckless maneuvers.

  2. grizzlor // July 09, 2008 10:17 AM  

    Vitor I think has gotten himself into the same situation as Tony Kanaan at Indy. With the majority of the nuts in this series, you can't be mr. nice guy. His mistake at Watkins Glen was he was worried about contact, Viso wasn't. Sorry Vitor, but while your tact is clearly more fair, driving like you stole it wins more races.

  3. the american mutt // July 09, 2008 11:00 AM  

    EJ has left only two races, while Vitor has left four(?) and Vitors only 15 points behind him? I see that as impressive for one of the drivers but it ain't EJ. Just sayin'.

  4. mikebdot // July 09, 2008 1:40 PM  

    grizzlor: What place did EJ come in last weekend driving like he stole it? Oh yeah...

    Viso made the "mistake". Plain and simple.