Carpenter pushes to victory at Kentucky Speedway; scores first personal and team win
SPARTA, KY (October 2, 2011)- Tears of joy were abundant in the 67 pit stall as Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR) driver Ed Carpenter edged championship front-runner Dario Franchitti by a nose on a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway to claim his, as well as SFR's, first IZOD IndyCar® Series victory.
"It felt way better than I ever thought it was going to feel," said an elated Ed Carpenter. "Dario raced me hard and clean. I knew we had the better car but in the second or third stint."
It felt way better than I ever thought it was going to feel.
Carpenter rolled off the grid from the fourth starting position on Sunday, in front of a sea of family and friends, and remained in the top-five throughout most of the race. "It was a weird race because my visor was falling off in one of the stints and we had all sorts of stuff going on. However, I wasn't going to let a visor coming off stop me from winning the race. I drove 15 or 20 laps with one hand holding on to my helmet til our next pit stop."
The 30-year old husband and father of two was thankful he had one Honda overtake assist (push-to-pass) left on the final lap. He and Franchitti battled for nearly 21 laps as the Kentucky Indy 300 came to a close, separated by no more than two-tenths of a second. "I'm just so proud to be a part of this team and this organization. I can't thank Andy and Sarah enough, and I'm especially thankful to my wife for supporting me all these years to get to this point; it's taken a long time to get our first win, but that's fine with me. It's just an awesome day for Dollar General, Angie's List, Fuzzy's Vodka and everyone."
The victory was also the first for the Sarah Fisher Racing organization, and after missing the previous three races with the birth of her and husband Andy O'Gara's daughter (Zoey Marie), Sarah was back to witness history. "Just to see Ed drive his tail off is just so amazing," said a teary-eyed Fisher. "We figured out that next year, Dollar General is not coming back, so maybe they'll change their mind now. But, you know certainly it was just a great weekend. The guys all worked their tails off, and I haven't been to the shop in three weeks. My baby girl is obviously good luck...I'm just so happy to be here."
Carpenter's 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues Sunday, October 16th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.