NASHVILLE -- The threat of rain lingered over Nashville Superspeedway today for the first day of practice and what was supposed to be qualifying. Early morning rains forced shortening of the morning and afternoon practice sessions, but the team ...
NASHVILLE -- The threat of rain lingered over Nashville Superspeedway today for the first day of practice and what was supposed to be qualifying. Early morning rains forced shortening of the morning and afternoon practice sessions, but the team still was able to get in a total of 138 laps.
Then, as the teams headed toward the qualifying line, the serious rain came just 20 minutes before the beginning of the session. As a result, qualifying was cancelled, and the starting order for the race will be determined from each driver's best speed during the two practice sessions.
Patrick Carpentier turned in a top speed of 201.035 mph during the first practice session. This result places him in 17th position for the race.
"I'm very happy because I think we're making progress to eliminate scrub in the car to make it go faster. I'm also starting to understand some of the technical aspects of the cars now, so I can help the engineers. I'm really looking forward to the next few races because I know Toyota is going to help us, but there are some things that we can do to help ourselves also, and we're working hard on that. I was disappointed that we didn't get a chance to qualify because I thought we would have a decent car. Wheldon was running a 23.273 all by himself, and we were at 23.400. We've never been that close on these longer ovals, so we were looking forward to getting out there to see what we could do," Carpentier said.
Alex Barron was just a tad slower than his teammate. He also put in his best speed during the first practice session when he ran a 199.546 mph, which puts him in 19th position on the starting grid.
"Overall, things went pretty smoothly today despite being pretty long with the rain and all of the waiting around. Unfortunately, we didn't get as much track time as we were hoping for. Since they're taking practice times for the qualifying order, we're not starting as high as we were hoping for. It's a shame because we wanted at least one more session, qualifying or not, to make one more change to make the car quicker. I guess we'll just hope for the best whenever we get back out," Barron said.
The Firestone Indy 200 will air live on Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Prior to the race, Barron and Carpentier will be featured in a live interview from the track on ESPN News at 3:20 p.m. ET. Check local listings for channel information.