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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Meira joins Foyt racing for 2009

Thursday, September 25, 2008

By STEVE HERMAN

AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Vitor Meira, the Indy Racing League's most experienced non-winner, will drive for A.J. Foyt Racing in the 2009 IndyCar Series.

The 31-year-old Brazilian, who has a series-record 93 career starts without a victory, drove the past three years for Panther Racing, which earlier this week hired former Indianapolis 500 and IRL champion Dan Wheldon.

"I am definitely going into 2009 with a little extra motivation," Meira said Thursday. "I have raced against the (Foyt) 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, I think that says it all."

Meira was the Indy 500 runner-up to Wheldon in 2005 and to Scott Dixon this year.

He replaces Darren Manning, who drove for Foyt the past two years without a win, and will make his debut with Foyt next month in a non-points race at Surfer's Paradise, Australia.

Foyt, a four-time winner at Indianapolis as a driver and the owner of the winning car at Indy in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel, said it was "time for a change" for next season.

He said he has long admired Meira because he's "a hard racer who charges all day long."

"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," Foyt said.

Meira was the South American Formula 3 champion in 2000, competed in the European F3000 series in 2001 and came to the United States for Team Menard the next season, joining fellow Brazilians Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Airton Dare, Bruno Junqueira and Felipe Giaffone in the IRL.

Meira also drove two years for Rahal Letterman Racing before moving to Panther in 2006.

"This first race (with Foyt) 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, who lives in the northern Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.



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