CARPENTER TO START FOURTH AT HOMESTEAD
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter matched his IndyCar Series career-best start with a fourth place run today in the No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine in qualifying for the Firestone Indy 300 on Saturday evening at the 1.5-mile oval of Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS). Carpenter's qualifying average came in with an average speed of 211.7689 mph.
Carpenter's previous fourth place start came in 2006 at Michigan International Speedway also with Vision Racing. Needless to say, tomorrow night Carpenter most certainly hopes to also improve upon his career-best which came earlier this season when he took second place by just 0.0162 of a second and led 34 laps on the 1.5-mile oval race at Kentucky Speedway. Carpenter and the team are eager to see if they can do just one spot better this weekend on Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile configuration.
Momentum at HMS is on Carpenter's side as he has earned his best finishes at the track in each of his last two starts here. Last year he started at the rear of the field in the 24th spot and drove all the way to a fifth place finish. The year prior in 2007, he earned a sixth place result. His previous best start at HMS came in 2004 when he started 9th. In his first race at HMS in 2004 with Red Bull Cheever Racing, he finished 12th. In 2005, driving for Vision Racing in the team's debut in the IndyCar Series, Carpenter started in 20th and finished 18th after getting caught up in an accident. He was forced to miss the 2006 event at HMS due to an injury suffered in the morning warmup.
Ed Carpenter - No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
On qualifying: "I'm really happy with that qualifying effort. I felt like we were definitely going to be in the top-10 but we were flirting with a top-5 in practice. This is a challenging place. The car has been really good, then really bad, then really good again but we made some good changes for qualifying. The Vision team has worked really hard all year long and it good to have such a strong qualifying effort to end the year. I'm happy to be starting fourth in the No.20 Menards car and it's going to be an interesting race because everyone seems to be struggling in traffic on a challenging track. We thought it would be a little easier with all the aero changes than what it has been, but at the same time it is kind of fun to come to a track where you really have to nail the set-up to have a good car. I think a lot of people are hoping to see the three championship contenders duking it out three wide in the end, but I'm don't think that will be the case. The best car is going to win and truthfully I think we have a good shot at it."