JOLIET, Ill. - Prior to qualifying for the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway Friday afternoon, Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter was not quite sure how his qualifying run would turn out. He was confident in his No. 20...
JOLIET, Ill. - Prior to qualifying for the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway Friday afternoon, Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter was not quite sure how his qualifying run would turn out. He was confident in his No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine and his Panther Racing crew, but a broken suspension piece on just his second lap of morning practice kept him from truly getting the car up to speed prior to this afternoon's qualifying session.
After completing an installation lap in the morning practice session, Carpenter went back out for his first warm up lap when the car bottomed-out over a bump and subsequently broke a suspension piece which then caused Carpenter to sustain light contact with the turn four wall. For the remainder of practice, Carpenter's Panther Racing crew went to work on the damaged Indycar.
Carpenter was 13th in line to qualify and immediately got his repaired car up to speed; turning in a two-lap average of 214.831 mph. that was provisionally good enough for the fifth position. However, with a full field of 29 cars, Carpenter was eventually relegated to the 11th position; inside of row six and next to Danica Patrick.
The 29 year-old Carpenter is making his 101st career series start at the track where he had his first race in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2003. Since that first start in Sept. 2003 at Chicagoland, Carpenter has participated in seven races on the 1.5-mile oval and gave Vision Racing its best finish in five trips with a fifth place run in 2007. Just last season Carpenter drove to a sixth place finish for Vision at Chicagoland and the team is look forward to a good result in Saturday night's race at the track given that Carpenter led 34 laps and finished in second place by 0.0162 of a second at the most recent 1.5-mile oval at Kentucky Speedway (August 2009).
Chicagoland Speedway is the first of three ovals, including Kentucky Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, which Carpenter will race in each of the next three months. It's no coincidence that Carpenter's best finishes have some on these ovals and he looks to continue on that precedent.
Meanwhile, team partner, Panther Racing and driver Dan Wheldon qualified the No. 4 National Guard No. 4 Dallara/Honda/Firestone will start the Saturday night race from the seventh position after a two-lap qualifying average of 215.099 mph. The 2005 and 2006 Chicagoland Speedway winner will start from the inside of row four and next to Hideki Mutoh.
-source: vision racing