IRL: Homestead: Patrick Carpentier race report

CARPENTIER FINISHES SEVENTH IN A THRILLING RACE AT MIAMI-HOMESTEAD Homestead, Florida, Sunday, March 5, 2005 - Patience went a long way on Sunday for race driver Patrick Carpentier, who avoided several traps in the Indy Racing League ...

CARPENTIER FINISHES SEVENTH IN A THRILLING RACE AT MIAMI-HOMESTEAD

Homestead, Florida, Sunday, March 5, 2005 - Patience went a long way on Sunday for race driver Patrick Carpentier, who avoided several traps in the Indy Racing League IndyCar® Series season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, to finish seventh overall. Carpentier's Cheever Racing Dallara-Toyota was not the quickest car of the 22 registered for the Toyota Indy 300 race, but his experience served him well, finishing only 11 seconds behind race winner Dan Wheldon of Andretti-Green Racing. It was Wheldon's fourth IndyCar win,

In an exciting race, that included a major crash involving eight cars on lap 158, British driver Dan Wheldon was in a class by himself. His Dallara-Honda led 160 of the 200 laps to cross the finish line with a lead of 3.6936 seconds over the Dallara-Toyota of Sam Hornish Jr. of the United States. But it was the end-of-the-race, four-car battle for second place that kept race fans on the edge of their seats.

A photo finish placed Penske driver Sam Hornish, a three-time winner at Homestead, only 0.0097 second ahead of the Andretti-Green Racing Dallara-Honda of Brazilian Tony Kanaan. He nosed-out the Panoz-Honda of fellow countryman Vitor Meira of Team Rahal Letterman by 0.0117 second. Fifth place went to Helio Castroneves of Penske Racing who finished one-tenth behind Meira. British driver Darren Manning (Chip Ganassi Panoz-Toyota) finished sixth overall, just ahead of Carpentier. As for Carpentier's teammate, Californian Alex Barron, he recorded an eighth place finish, one lap down from Wheldon.

Throughout most of the race, Carpentier's car showed a lack of power that prevented him from battling with the leaders. The numerous caution periods helped him stay on the lead lap as the field tightened behind the leader each time. He even led 4 laps, but it happened when he was off-sequence in the pit stop strategy. But it was the major incident of the race that helped save the day for Carpentier. The eight-car pile-up occurred in front of him. He was able to navigate his car through the fireworks and flying debris while broken cars littered the track. It was during this period that he rose to seventh position.

''I never thought we would finish so high,'' said Carpentier, who was still shaken by the pile-up. ''It's quite a feat to finish seventh following the difficulties we encountered prior to the race. The major accident helped my cause, but I don't like to see this type of action where people can get hurt. This result does not mean that we are up there with the top teams. It will take the utmost desire to win from everybody on the team in order to improve the car. There is much to do before we reach the next level.''

Round 2 of the 2005 IRL schedule will take place Saturday, March 19 at Phoenix International Speedway in Arizona. The race will be televised live on TSN.

-mdo-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Helio Castroneves , Patrick Carpentier , Tony Kanaan , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske