MILWAUKEE MILE SITE OF VISION RACING'S NEXT CHANCE AT BEST FINISH BREAKING INTO THE TOP-FIVE MAIN FOCUS FOR CARPENTER AND SCHECKTER ON SUNDAY INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 19, 2006) -- Vision Racing and drivers, Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter,...
MILWAUKEE MILE SITE OF VISION RACING'S NEXT CHANCE AT BEST FINISH
BREAKING INTO THE TOP-FIVE MAIN FOCUS FOR CARPENTER AND SCHECKTER ON SUNDAY
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 19, 2006) -- Vision Racing and drivers, Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter, head to The Milwaukee Mile this weekend in search of two top-five finishes and the team's best-ever finish. Anything less and neither driver will be satisfied. The ABC Supply Co. A.J. Foyt Indy 225 is the 10th of 14 IndyCar Series races this season and yet another opportunity for Carpenter and Scheckter to realize the potential they have shown time and again in recent weeks. Not to mention, a top-ten at Milwaukee would be the team's sixth top-ten finish in a row.
Carpenter earned his fourth top-ten finish in five races and gave the team its fifth in a row as he piloted the No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone around the 1.3-mile concrete oval at Nashville Superspeedway last Saturday night. He was disappointed with his car for much of the weekend, but drove a strong race to get back in the top-10 after starting from the 14th position in the 200-lap, 266-mile affair. Carpenter only has one DNF this season which occurred at Japan and the consistent finishes are starting to pay off as he made a jump in points this week from 16th to 15th.
Carpenter said, "It was an ok weekend, but I wasn't thrilled with the finish. I had expectations of finishing higher than what we did, so that is what I was disappointed about. It could have been a really good opportunity for us to pick up more points in the chase, but we didn't capitalize on it. That is just putting more pressure on me and the team to get it going in the last five races."
Get it going is just want Carpenter plans to do at Milwaukee. Carpenter has two previous attempts at The Milwaukee Mile. In 2004 he started in the 14th spot with Cheever Racing and finished the race in 11th. Last year with Vision Racing he started from the 16th position and finished in the 12th spot. This year, not only does he want to finish in the top-ten, but he will not be content unless he takes the checkered flag in one of the first five spots.
"Milwaukee is the last short track of the season, and it is a very "challenging place," Carpenter noted. Having a consistent car over a "long run is very important there. We need to have a good race. Tomas "and I both are trying to fight our way up into the top-ten in points, "and with only five races left, it is going to take some better finishes "than just being in the top-ten. So the focus and approach is to have "a good enough car, but still fast enough to try to get us up in the "top-five."
Scheckter also wants to come home in a top-five spot at Milwaukee; a feat he nearly accomplished last weekend in Nashville. Driving the No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone at Nashville and starting in the ninth position, Scheckter experienced a driveshaft failure upon leaving the pits around lap 122. He had worked his way through the field and at that point in the race had been running solidly in the fifth spot.
The early exit snapped a streak of four top-10 finishes in a row and gave him his third DNF this season. His last DNF occurred at Indianapolis in May with the other occurring at St. Petersburg in April. The driveshaft failure did not do Scheckter any favors in the point standings either. Heading to Milwaukee, Scheckter has the 13th position in points.
He said, "We had a great run going and everyone on the team did an unbelievable job. I just have to thank Vision Racing, all of our sponsors and thank everybody for giving me a good car. It's just extremely unfortunate for this to happen to us, especially now. In the closing stages of the race we broke a driveshaft while running in the top-five and I had one of the best cars out there. We'll get after it again this week and bounce back from that."
Scheckter knows what it takes to run near the front at The Milwaukee Mile. In two starts there, both with Panther Racing, Scheckter started eighth, but transmission failure left him out of the race in 21st in 2004, and a year later he faired much better as he started and finished in the third spot. In addition, Scheckter has the Vision Racing's best-ever oval finishes, which also happen to be his best finish this season. They include a pair of seventh place runs at Richmond and Kansas. Improving upon those finishes are his top priority at Milwaukee.
"Milwaukee is a challenging track, but I did well there last year so hopefully I can do that and run up front," Scheckter said. "I really want to get a top-five finish this weekend. We had it in our grasp last weekend at Nashville and to have it taken away after our driveshaft broke was unfortunate. We have had top-five cars consistently these past few races but for whatever reason, we just haven't been able to get up there at the end of the race. I want to change that this weekend at Milwaukee."
The 225-lap, 225-mile ABC Supply Co. A.J. Foyt Indy 225 gets started at The Milwaukee Mile on Sunday afternoon, July 23rd. The race will air at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.