Vision Racing, Carpenter Take First IZOD IndyCar Series Pole September 3, 2010
VISION RACING QUALIFYING REPORT – Sept. 3, 2010
Sparta, Kentucky – Vision Racing and driver Ed Carpenter scored their first-ever IZOD IndyCar Series PEAK Pole Award in preparation for the Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway this afternoon. Piloting the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine, Carpenter put up a two-lap qualifying effort at 217.933 mph to put the Vision Racing/Panther Racing entry on top of the scoring pylon.
Carpenter will start on the inside of row one along side Will Power of Penske Racing and directly in front of his Panther Racing teammate, Dan Wheldon in the No. 4 National Guard car. It is Carpenter's 102nd IZOD IndyCar Series start (83rd with Vision Racing) and the team's 86th IZOD IndyCar Series event.
The 29-year-old Carpenter is picking up almost right where he left off at Kentucky Speedway just last year, when he put together his best IZOD IndyCar Series race in his seven-year career. Starting from the 14th spot, Carpenter passed seven cars in the first eight laps, led a total of 34 laps and earned a career-best finish of second; finishing just behind Penske Racing’s Ryan Briscoe by a margin of 0.0162 of a second in the Series’ closest finish at Kentucky.
Now Carpenter is poised to finish just one spot better in the Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka special and earn he and the team’s first series victory.
It’s no surprise to anyone that the part-time 2010 Vision Racing/Carpenter effort is fast. Just last week at Chicagoland Speedway, Carpenter started 11th, charged through the field right away, led three laps and ran in the top five for much of the race. However, it was a mechanical issue during a pit stop regarding the fuel hose and rig that put him out of contention late in the race.
Not to mention, Carpenter and the team tested at Kentucky Speedway just last month with very positive results. So since Carpenter’s second place run at Kentucky last season, the 1.5-mile oval has always been a highly anticipated race for the team in 2010.
Kentucky Speedway is the third of four ovals, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, which Carpenter will race this season. It’s no coincidence that Carpenter’s best finishes have come on these ovals and he looks to continue on that precedent with his best-ever finish tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, team partner, Panther Racing and driver Dan Wheldon qualified the No. 4 National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone in the third position with a two-lap qualifying average of 217.700 mph. Just last weekend at Chicagoland, Wheldon started from the seventh spot and finished on the podium in second place.
Partnering again with Panther Racing should serve both Carpenter and Vision Racing well as Panther has collected victories at each of the remaining tracks where Carpenter will join the team this season, including a 2003 win at Kentucky with driver Sam Hornish Jr. The team also has two pole positions at Kentucky (2000 and 2003) and has led 277 laps in seven different races at the 1.5-mile oval. They also have two wins and two poles in Firestone Indy Lights competition at Kentucky.
Vision Racing also has some previous success at Kentucky, including when driver A.J. Foyt IV led 13 laps in a Vision machine and finished a career-best third. In addition, that same year all three Vision team entries finished in the top-10 at Kentucky with Foyt IV, Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter behind the wheel.
IZOD IndyCar Series action will resume this evening for practice at 6:30 p.m. ET and tomorrow’s Kentucky Indy 300 will air live on VERSUS at 8 p.m. ET; as well as IMS Radio Network, XM IndyCar Series Racing Channel 145, XM Sports Nation Channel 144 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.
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Qualifying Results and Quotes: (Sept. 3, 2010)
Ed Carpenter – No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Vision Racing/Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Two Lap Qualifying Average: 217.933 mph
Starting Position: 1st (Inside Row ONE)
On pole position:
“I love this track and this area. I won one of my national midget races in Louisville and won a lot of sprint car races in Salem, Indiana. The southern Indiana/Kentucky region seems to be good to me for some reason. The way I kind of look at it, I’m trying to keep my career going so every minute I’m in the car, I have to do the best that I can and get the most out of it. I’m just having a lot of fun right now; the Panther team is going a great job in addition with the Vision Racing part of it. It’s just a lot of fun.”
Dan Wheldon – No. 4 National Guard/Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Two Lap Qualifying Average: 217.700 mph
Starting Position: 3rd (Inside Row Two)