RICHMOND (June 9, 2005) -- After several frustrating races, Red Bull Cheever Racing turned things around in a major way during the practice and qualifying sessions at Richmond International Raceway. Prior testing at the track enabled both...
RICHMOND (June 9, 2005) -- After several frustrating races, Red Bull Cheever Racing turned things around in a major way during the practice and qualifying sessions at Richmond International Raceway.
Prior testing at the track enabled both Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron to hit the ground running when practice began today. As a result, the two proceeded to run quick all day, posting speeds in the top 10 in both afternoon practice sessions. In addition, the team qualified both the #83 and #51 car in the top 10 for the race with Carpentier in fourth and Barron in ninth. This marks the first time this season that either car has cracked the top 10 in qualifying.
The qualifying session took an interesting twist early when a majority of the cars, including the two Red Bull Cheever Racing cars, pulled out of the qualifying line prior to their attempts in hopes that cooler track temperatures would produce higher speeds. This tactic cost both cars one qualifying lap but paid off when both Carpentier and Barron topped their earlier practice efforts.
Carpentier posted a top speed of 172.248 mph in the afternoon practice sessions before posting a one-lap speed of 173.776 mph. The fourth place starting position is his best of the season and his IndyCar Series career.
"The car is so good this weekend. We are having a good time. We just didn't match up the gears like we wanted to, so we could have gone even quicker. Thanks to Toyota. They have been working with us and helping us to get better. I think above all we have a great race car. It's going to be fun tomorrow night. This is my first time at Richmond but we had a chance to test last week with Toyota. I also ran a rental car around here in the rain for a full day during our first test that was rained out. I love these kinds of tracks, you've got to work your way around. It's a lot of fun. Things happen very fast on this oval, as fast as the video game but you can't add more quarters," Carpentier said.
Barron was the quickest of the two cars in practice, posting a top speed of 172.368 mph. He also turned up the heat during qualifying when he posted a one-lap speed of 172.761 mph. The ninth starting position is his best of the season.
"I think waiting to qualify definitely paid off. We only got one lap, but I think the track definitely got better. The car was pretty well balanced. We didn't get quite what we wanted, but we were quicker in qualifying than we did in practice, so we're pretty happy. We think we have a good car in lap traffic, so we're optimistic for the race. Getting in and out of the pits is going to be one of the most important things here, so we just need to keep it clean," Barron said.
The team used the final practice session after qualifications to work on race setup. Both cars run with full tanks of fuel, scuffed tires and practiced race scenario pit stops.
The green flag for the SunTrust Indy Challenge from Richmond International Raceway will fall tomorrow night at 7:45 p.m. ET. It will air live on ESPN2 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.