CARPENTER AND FOYT OVERCOME ADVERSITY TO FINISH FITH AND NINTH AT HOMESTEAD
HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Starting the 2008 IndyCar Series season and the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway did not go quite as planned for Vision Racing. After team drivers Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV qualified the previous evening in a team and career-high second and third respectively, the team arrived to the track today only to find out that they would start the race in 24th and 25th for failing the post-qualifying technical inspection.
In the face of adversity, Vision Racing showed its true colors as Carpenter persevered to finish fifth in the race debut of the No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine; advancing an impressive 19 spots. Meanwhile Foyt put his No. 2 Vision Racing Honda powered Dallara in the top 10 by finishing ninth and driving as high as seventh.
In spite of starting at the back of pack, both Carpenter and Foyt made short work of dicing through the field. By lap 16 Carpenter had entered the top 10 and by lap 36 both cars were in the top 10.
The fifth place finish for Carpenter matches a career-best for him in the IndyCar Series as he took fifth in the season-finale at Chicagoland Speedway in 2006. Carpenter is currently fifth in the 2008 IndyCar Series point standings; a personal and team high.
Foyt's ninth place finish matched his best run at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished ninth on the 1.5-mile oval in 2005 as well. Foyt is currently ninth in the IndyCar Series point standings.
Pole sitter Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing won the race.
IndyCar Series racing resumes next week on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Ed Carpenter - No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"It was a good recovery. We had a good car. The first stop we tried to take a gamble and not put tires on, but we lost a lap doing that as the car became a handful. Then once we got back to new tires, I had a pretty good pace and was fast all race. That restart there at the end really helped me just because it packed us up after that last pit stop which help me get by Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and Danica (Patrick) there at the end. I love restarts at the end of the race because it gives you a chance to get a couple more spots and you have to take advantage of it."
"It was a tough race. It was the weirdest Homestead race that we've had. It seemed like everyone's pace was really dropping off towards the end of a run on tires and it made it really difficult to keep the car good from the beginning to the end of a run. By the end of the race I was pretty happy with the balance I had in the car from start to finish of a run. It was a good recovery for the team after having to start in the back. All things considered, to come out of here with a top five finish is a great start for the team."
A.J. Foyt IV - No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"Starting the race from the back obviously made it a lot more difficult to try and get around the slow cars and the cars I've never raced with before, but once we got going the car wasn't too bad. It lacked a little overall downforce and it wasn't great, but we managed to come out of here with a top 10. So we'll learn from this and work on getting better and moving up as the season continues."