Carpenter Passes to Popular Kentucky Victory
After finishing second at Kentucky Speedway in both 2009 and 2010, Ed Carpenter used his Honda “overtake assist” at just the right time on the final lap Sunday to edge ahead of Dario Franchitti for his and Sarah Fisher Racing’s first IZOD IndyCar Series win. Carpenter’s victory margin of 0.0098 seconds was the closest in the history of the 1.5-mile Kentucky oval, and the sixth-closest in IndyCar Series history.
Franchitti’s second-place finish moved him back to the top of the drivers’ championship standings with just one race remaining. Franchitti now has an 18-point lead over rival Will Power, who started from the pole but was delayed by a collision on pit lane and resulting body damage following contact with Ana Beatriz. Power, who led the standings coming into today’s 200-lap event, finished 19th, the final car on the lead lap.
Continuing a six-season tradition of equality and reliability, 29 Honda-powered drivers completed 12,763 miles this weekend on the fast but bumpy Kentucky Speedway oval without a single failure of the Honda Indy V-8 engine. It has been more than two years since a Honda in-race engine failure, the last one taking place at Infineon Raceway in 2009.
Franchitti’s teammate, Scott Dixon, finished third to clinch the A.J. Foyt Award as the top oval-track driver in the series this year, while Newman Haas Racing’s James Hinchcliffe finished fourth to take the lead in the IndyCar Rookie of the Year standings for the first time this season.
The IZOD IndyCar Series now takes a week off before heading to another 1.5-mile oval, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway circuit, for the season-ending IZOD IndyCar World Championships Presented by Honda on Oct. 16.
Ed Carpenter (#67 Sarah Fisher Racing Honda) started 4th, finished 1st, his first IndyCar victory in 113 starts: “It [winning] is way better than even I ever thought it would be! The team made changes to the car at every pit stop and at the end, I knew I had a better car than Dario [Franchitti]. I knew I needed to get a good final restart and I was able to do just that. Dario raced me hard and clean, but I had one more ‘push-to-pass’ left and I used it on the last lap. It was just enough, but we got it done. It feels unbelievable.”
Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 11th, finished 2nd, retakes the drivers’ championship lead by 18 points over Will Power with one race remaining: “It just shows you never give up. It was a nice surprise coming out in the lead after the first round of pit stops. Once we were in the lead, we just kept it in the bottom lane and that worked well until Ed [Carpenter] caught up to us at the end. He drove a hell of a race. I had to use my ‘overtake assist’ repeatedly to keep him from getting clear [in front], because then it would have been all over. Ed and their team did a great job. He raced us hard and fair and I enjoyed it. Congratulations to them. Shortly before the race, I got an e-mail from [team manager] Barry Wanser and [his son] Michael [who is fighting a serious illness] telling us to ‘go for it’, so this is dedicated to them.”
Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 1st, finished 3rd : “First of all, it’s a big honor to win the A.J. Foyt oval award. The guy’s a legend, and you all know that. Today was a bit of a different story; it was difficult to get the car up to speed at the start and on restarts. It would take three or four laps to get back to where we needed to be. Obviously a big swing in the championship points today, and we’ll do everything in our power to help Dario win the championship at Las Vegas in two weeks.”
Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race: “Races like this are what attracted me to IndyCar racing in the first place. Congratulations to Ed [Carpenter], who has come so close to a victory, so many times. Today’s victory was hard-fought and I think one of the most popular we’ve seen this year. Congratulations as well to Sarah [Fisher], her husband and co-team owner Andy O’Gara, and the entire SFR organization. This is the best possible ‘present’ for their newborn daughter Zoey! Now, we go to another 1.5-mile for the season finale, and it should be fantastic as well.”