FIRST PRACTICE LAPS AT INDY, IN 2010 PROVE PRODUCTIVE FOR VISION
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Vision Racing's highly anticipated return to the IZOD IndyCar Series for opening practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 2010 Indianapolis 500 with veteran driver Ed Carpenter proved to be both productive and spirited.
Carpenter's first laps Saturday afternoon in the team's Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka sponsored No. 20 Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine signaled the culmination of months of efforts for both team and driver to get back on track. The team suspended operations in January due to lack of funding, but was able to secure sponsorship and support to make its 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series at the upcoming Indianapolis 500, thanks to a collaborative effort with the Panther and the addition of Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka to the livery.
Taking advantage of the two hour open practice time on the 2.5-mile oval for seasoned drivers, Carpenter was seventh fastest with a top lap of 224.592 mph, after putting in 18 total laps. The track time allowed Carpenter and his new crew to shake down the car and begin to experiment with optimal setups for next Saturday's "Pole Day" qualifying.
Carpenter is preparing for his seventh Indianapolis 500-mile race and sixth with Vision Racing. Last season Carpenter started 17th and drove to eighth place finish. His best drive at Indianapolis came in 2008 when he started 10th, drove his first career IndyCar Series leader laps (3) and finished fifth.
Meanwhile, Carpenter's teammate for the month, Dan Wheldon of Panther Racing, drove the National Guard No. 4 Honda powered Dallara to the fourth fastest lap of the day with a speed of 225.609 mph. The 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner completed nine laps on the afternoon.
IZOD IndyCar Series action will resume Sunday at noon for practice.
The Indianapolis 500 will air live on Sunday, May 30th at noon ET on ABC, 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.
Practice Results and Quotes: (May 15, 2010)
Ed Carpenter - No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Vision Racing/Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Top Speed in Practice: 224.592 mph
Top Time in Practice: 40.0762
Number of Laps in Practice: 18
Overall Rank in Practice: 7th on speed chart
"We didn't put a lot of emphasis on speed today because it was all about shaking down the car, getting a baseline set up without focusing on lap times, and getting comfortable with the car and team. The team part is already there because I have worked with David (Cripps) and Al (Bodey) and Nathan (O'Rourke) before and the trust is already there making it easier to communicate and go out there with a good sense of confidence. Today everything went according to the plan we had laid out for ourselves. We'll focus on the race car set up at the start of the week and move towards putting more speed into it for qualifying as the week progresses. It's just so nice to be back on track. This Indy 500 race will actually be my 100th IndyCar series race and I am so very grateful for the opportunity thanks to the partnership we have with Panther this month and having Fuzzy Zoeller step in with his Vodka sponsorship as the last piece of the puzzle."
Dan Wheldon - No. 4 National Guard/Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Top Speed in Practice: 225.609 mph
Top Time in Practice: 39.8921
Number of Laps in Practice: 9
Overall Rank in Practice: 4th on speed chart