IRL: Kentucky: Vision Racing preview

KENTUCKY PROVIDES REBOUND OPPORTUNITY FOR VISION RACING TEAM OVERCOMES MICHIGAN WOES WHILE GEARING UP FOR KENTUCKY INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2007) -- The Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway will undoubtedly be exciting, fast and ...

KENTUCKY PROVIDES REBOUND OPPORTUNITY FOR VISION RACING

TEAM OVERCOMES MICHIGAN WOES WHILE GEARING UP FOR KENTUCKY

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2007) -- The Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway will undoubtedly be exciting, fast and challenging, just as every IndyCar Series race on the 1.5-mile oval has been since 2000. But for Vision Racing, the excitement, speed and difficulty has been exacerbated by the return of three damaged race cars to the stable; the result of last weekend's much-talked about incident at Michigan International Speedway.

With all three Vision Racing machines running in the top-10 at Michigan, a spectacular crash on lap 143 collected team drivers A.J. Foyt IV, Tomas Scheckter and Ed Carpenter. Initially started by Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon, the mayhem involved a total of seven cars, including the Vision Racing trio.

After watching a potential victory for Scheckter and three top-10 finishes for the team vanish as a result of the crash, Vision Racing was down, but not out. Members of all three crews, including team owner, Tony George, and team manager, Larry Curry, repaired the No. 22 Dallara/Honda/Firestone to get Foyt back on track. Their efforts were rewarded with an eighth place finish.

However, back at the team's race shop on Monday morning, the crew was presented a new set of challenges, including repairing the three Dallara chassis damaged in the incident. Not to mention, the team's "to-do" list also contained the preparation and loading of equipment necessary for next week's open test on the road course of Infineon Raceway, in Sonoma, Calif.

In spite of the challenges and obstacles, Vision Racing is ready to seek redemption this weekend at Kentucky. This weekend's Meijer Indy 300 marks the first time that the event will be held on Saturday night, under the lights and the team will be looking to build off of Scheckter's seventh place finish and Carpenter's 11th place run on the 1.5-mile oval last season.

In five previous attempts at Kentucky Speedway, Scheckter's best finish came just last year with Vision Racing when he finished seventh after advancing 10 spots from his 17th place starting position. During his rookie season in 2002, he started 17th and finished 22nd due to an accident. In 2003 he started seventh and finished 10th, while in 2004 he started 13th and finished 22nd after a fuel fire ended his race. In 2005 he started 22nd and finished 21st as a result of a mechanical issue.

"I had a good drive at Kentucky last year in spite of a slow car in practice and qualifying," Scheckter recalled. "Not to mention, last weekend at Michigan, I had the best car that I've had all season. Unfortunately we got caught up in that big accident which ended our race early. I'm optimistic that we can still take some of that speed to Kentucky this weekend and hopefully come away with a better result. Last weekend was just a big missed opportunity and we just can't afford that this late in the season."

Scheckter led his first laps of the season last weekend in the No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine. He also has seven top-10 finishes this year and is currently 11th in the IndyCar Series championship point standings.

Carpenter has three previous attempts at Kentucky Speedway, with a best finish of eighth. In 2004, Carpenter started in 14th and finished eighth in his rookie season with Cheever Racing. In 2005 he started in the 21st spot with Vision Racing, but a mechanical failure sent him into the wall and took him out early; leaving him in the 22nd position. Just last year Carpenter started eighth and charged up to fifth before spinning in the pit exit lane after his first pit stop. He finished in 11th.

Carpenter added, "After last week's disappointing run, I'm anxious to see if we can gain some redemption at Kentucky. We had some great race cars last week at Michigan, but that big accident just ruined our day and tore up our cars. Regardless, we've got to get our equipment fixed and ready for Kentucky and Infineon and focus on getting better results. I was running fifth last year at Kentucky when I spun leaving the pits so I know we can run well there. I'm looking forward to running under the lights this weekend and getting back into the top-10."

Driving the No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools special, Carpenter has four top-10 finishes so far this season and is currently 14th in the point standings.

A.J. Foyt IV has three prior starts at Kentucky with a best finish of ninth coming in 2005 when he started 12tht. He has been running at the finish in all three attempts including in 2004 when he started 15th and ended up 18th, and in 2003 when he started 19th and finished 17th.

Foyt said, "The last time I was at Kentucky I finished in the top-10 so I like the track and I'm happy to go back there. We had our best finish of the season last week at Michigan so to back that up with another top-10 would be nice. The guys will be working hard to give me a good car so we'll see if we can't go out there and have another good run."

Foyt is coming off of his best finish of the season with his eighth place run last weekend. Foyt and the No. 22 Vision Racing Honda powered Dallara are 17th in the point standings having finished 10 of 13 races thus far.

The 200-lap, 300-mile Meijer Indy 300 will air live on Saturday, August 11th, at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.

-credit: vr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers A.J. Foyt IV , Dario Franchitti , Ed Carpenter