FORT WORTH, Texas (June 7, 2013) – Ed Carpenter drove the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet to the ninth position Friday afternoon at the fast Texas Motor Speedway as the 24-driver field qualified for Saturday night’s Firestone 550.
Carpenter, the Indy 500 pole winner in the last oval event in the 19-race IZOD IndyCar Series, clocked a two-lap average of 216.552 miles per hour in the middle of the afternoon with temperatures at a relative cooler degree reading than usual at the 1.5-mile high-banked oval.
With mid-80s in the afternoon, the track conditions were different from last year’s 100-plus range of last year. Carpenter will start in the inside of the fifth row in the eighth 2013 event.
“It’s strange,” said Carpenter after qualifying. “It seems that this track changes every year. And since we have been with the new DW 12 chassis, the track is completely different. We were just too loose (oversteer) today in qualifying. So we have some work to do for the race. We’ll work on it in the night practice tonight.”
Carpenter put on an impressive charge in last year’s Texas race, coming from 18th to second in the early stages. Only a small mid-race handling problem hurt his chances to challenge for a victory.
“I had a good car here last year but we had just one bad stint that set us back in the field,” he said. “The Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy was good at the start since we went from 18th to second. This place is about the hardest oval we go to now in the series. Everyone seems to think this track produces pack racing. But we haven’t had a pack race here since 2004.”
The Texas oval has proven to be a handling track and Saturday’s race will figure to be an engineering exercise for the driver and his crew when the green drops at 8:45 p.m. EDT.
“There is not much grip,” Carpenter continued. “This track is tougher for grip than the Fontana track and we have less downforce than Fontana. None of us want to see pack racing anymore, but I think they have gone too far in the downforce level here.”
Will Power won the Verizon P1 pole position Friday at Texas with a whopping 219.182 m.p.h clocking followed by Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dario Franchitti and E. J Viso. The second five qualifiers were Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Charlie Kimball, Carpenter and James Jakes.
Ed Carpenter Racing