VISION RACING TO START 12th AND 13th AT RICHMOND AS RAIN CUTS QUALIFYING SHORT; GRID SET BY PRACTICE SPEEDS RICHMOND, Virginia -- Rain drops, rather than heat and humidity, blanketed Richmond International Raceway today as qualifying was...
VISION RACING TO START 12th AND 13th AT RICHMOND AS RAIN CUTS QUALIFYING SHORT; GRID SET BY PRACTICE SPEEDS
RICHMOND, Virginia -- Rain drops, rather than heat and humidity, blanketed Richmond International Raceway today as qualifying was underway for the SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM Satellite Radio. Vision Racing drivers, Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter, had just completed their qualifying runs before the skies opened up and washed out the track.
The rain did not do either driver any favors as the starting grid for tomorrow night's race will be set by today's combined practice speeds. That especially hurt Scheckter as he had just recorded his best speeds of the weekend during his qualifying attempt in the #2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone. As a result of the rain, Scheckter will now start the race from the sixth row and in the 12th spot as his best speed from the day's two practice sessions was 170.586 mph.
In his four starts at the track, Scheckter has finished fourth two different times; the first time occurring in his first attempt at the track in 2002 with Cheever Racing and most recently just this past season with Panther Racing. His best start is fifth in 2004, also with Panther Racing, and his average finish at the track is 10.8. He will look to improve upon that when the green flag drops tomorrow night.
Carpenter will start the race a row behind Scheckter from the 13th position as his best practice speed today was 170.511 mph. Carpenter only has two previous attempts at Richmond International Raceway where he's finished in the 16th spot in 2004 with Cheever Racing and just outside of the top-10 in the 12th position for Vision Racing in 2005.
Carpenter is optimistic that he can put the #20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone into the top-10 this weekend at Richmond and should he be able to accomplish that, he will finish in the top-10 for the third straight race as he finished a career-best and team-high of sixth at Watkins Glen and then backed that up the following week with a ninth place finish at Texas.
Look for both Vision Racing cars to move up quickly tomorrow as both drivers are going for their third straight top-10 finish in three races. The 250-lap, 187.5-mile SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM Radio gets started under the lights at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, June 24th. The race will air at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.
Qualifying Results and Quotes: (June 23, 2006)
Tomas Scheckter -- #2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
On practice and scratched qualifying run:
"We've been off the whole weekend and have been fighting it in every session, but I think we've got a good handle on it now since we logged our quickest time in qualifying. I even left black marks on the track in turn two because the car was sideways so I left it all on the track. It's too bad that we can't use our qualifying time because we were much better in qualifying than in practice. The rain is going to hurt us a bit today, but I'm confident that I can move up early tomorrow night."
Ed Carpenter -- #20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
On practice and scratched qualifying run:
"We had a good car in practice. We've really worked on it a lot all weekend and have a good racecar for Saturday. The car has been handling well all weekend which means we'll be good for the race. That's good for us because track position is so crucial here. The rain won't hurt me as much as Tomas because I should have had a better qualifying time than what I did. I felt like we should have got another tenth of a second out of it, at least. On the first lap in turn three I got a little loose and then I went into turn one on the next lap and I kind of missed my mark, missed the apex, but really I think we lost the speed when I got loose. I would have liked to have done better with the field so tight, but since we are going to use practice times, it might not make much of a difference. We have a good racecar and that's what matters so we'll see what we can do on Saturday."