If anyone could appreciate what Will Power went through to get back in an IZOD IndyCar Series car, it's Vitor Meira. So it was fitting that both ended up on the podium in their return to the series at the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on the streets of Sao Paulo.
"It could not be much better than that," said Meira, who finished third in his return to the famed No. 14 car of A.J. Foyt Racing after missing most of the 2009 season with a back injury sustained at the Indianapolis 500.
"I think Will can relate, with the back injury and all of that. It gets pretty uncertain sometimes, and having a team behind you, making sure that the seat is available and that they are waiting for you, it makes a big difference on recovery."
Meira, who started the race in 12th, stayed among the top-12 cars until the race was halted by heavy rains. After the red flag delay, his car improved and, steadily, he worked his way from the back to the front of the pack.
"We overcame a lot here, and it was mixed‑up racing," Meira said. "I think whoever kept their nose clean and was fast enough to make a position in all conditions, came out with a good result, and that's what we did. I know I wasn't the fastest car on normal conditions, but when the conditions became adverse, our car came alive and we started to gain position."
The result was Meira's best finish since his runner-up finish in the 2008 Indianapolis 500 and A.J. Foyt Racing's best finish since Darren Manning finished second at Watkins Glen that same year.
"This is good for the team," Meira said. "A.J. Foyt Racing is not one of the biggest teams out there, and a result always helps to keep people happy and everybody is happy; this is for the people who support us, because they put their faith in us, and we have to return that."
Still, Meira knows that one race doesn't make a season, but he hopes to make the most of his good start.
"It's a long season and we have to improve. Right now we finished third, but we have a long way to go to catch the big ones. So I hope that we will be able to take advantage of this great atmosphere. That's just the start of a big thank you I have to give to A.J., and ABC Supply. I hope we get better."