IRL: Texas: Vision Racing preview

VISION RACING HEADS TO TEXAS WITH ROCK & REPUBLIC AFTER SCORING HIGHEST TEAM FINISH LAST WEEKEND CARPENTER COMING OFF CAREER AND TEAM HIGH OF SIXTH AT WATKINS GLEN WHILE SCHECKTER HOPES TO REPEAT AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY; ROCK & REPUBLIC ...

VISION RACING HEADS TO TEXAS WITH ROCK & REPUBLIC AFTER SCORING HIGHEST TEAM FINISH LAST WEEKEND

CARPENTER COMING OFF CAREER AND TEAM HIGH OF SIXTH AT WATKINS GLEN WHILE SCHECKTER HOPES TO REPEAT AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY; ROCK & REPUBLIC SPONSORSHIP EXTENDED

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 7, 2006) -- Heading southwest to Texas Motor Speedway to race under the lights for the Bombardier Learjet 500 the racing and temperatures are sure to be hot, and Vision Racing looks to bring a little heat of their own. For starters, the team is coming off their best finish ever as both drivers, Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter, finished in the top-10 last weekend at Watkins Glen International. In fact, Carpenter scored his highest career IndyCar finish as well as the team's highest with a sixth place finish while Scheckter rounded out the top-10.

Not only that, but the partnership formed between Vision Racing and Rock & Republic will ride again for the Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The partnership forged at Indianapolis will also extend to additional races in 2006 and include the return of Townsend Bell in a third Rock & Republic Vision Racing entry at select events.

In addition, Bombardier, the race sponsor as well as a team sponsor, is declaring famed actor, Patrick Dempsey, as the grand marshal for the Bombardier Learjet 500. Dempsey is a co-owner of Vision Racing and currently stars in the hit ABC drama, Grey's Anatomy.

Compound all of that with the fact that Scheckter sat on the pole and won last year's event at Texas Motor Speedway in one of the closest finishes in IndyCar Series history and it is safe to say that Vision Racing is ready to drop the green flag on the 1.5-mile oval.

Carpenter will again be driving the Vision Racing / Rock & Republic #20 Dallara/Honda/Firestone this season. With an impressive 11th place finish in the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 and a 6th place finish in Sunday's Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix, Carpenter is certainly primed for an outstanding performance under the lights in Texas. Growing up racing sprint cars and midgets under the lights, this race suits Carpenter's driving style and gives him a distinct advantage going into this weekend.

He said, "It is good to finish the last two races. The season started off so rough for me, so it is good to finally get some momentum going and to build some points."

In spite of his fondness for the track, Carpenter's luck at Texas Motor Speedway has not been the best. His career-best start occurred at there in 2004 for his rookie season at Cheever Racing. He started that race in seventh. However, Carpenter has never finished a race at Texas and has fallen on hard times for all three starts he has made at the track. In 2003 he finished 21st due to a mechanical problem and in 2004 and 2005 he finished 21st and 20th, respectively, due to accidents. Carpenter is looking to turn that trend around by going the distance, thus giving him three straight finishes in the 2006 season.

"I am really excited to get back on the ovals, and to get to Texas," Carpenter said. "I expect that we will have great cars in Texas and I have some hurdles to overcome there. Unfortunately I have never finished a race at Texas, and I am ready to change that and try to improve on my best finish from last weekend."

At this Saturday's race Scheckter will be piloting the Rock & Republic branded Dallara/Honda/Firestone which was driven by Townsend Bell in the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 last month. Leading 12 laps and earning a top-10 finish at last weekend's race at Watkins Glen International, Scheckter is an early favorite to defend his title. Scheckter, had a photo finish last year in front of Sam Hornish Jr. in one of the closest finishes in IRL history and won the 2005 race from the pole, leading 119 of the 200 laps.

Scheckter said, "I'm excited to join Rock & Republic again and drive the car that Townsend drove for Indy. That car is a head-turner and I think it would really look good sitting in victory lane at Texas!"

Scheckter has a storied history at the Texas Motor Speedway. In addition to winning from the pole last season for Panther Racing, he also started on the pole in 2002 with Cheever Racing and in 2003 with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. However, Scheckter's only finish at the track is his first place finish last season. His average finish at Texas Motor Speedway in six attempts is 18.6 and his average starting position is 5.6.

"I'd love to go back and repeat at Texas," Scheckter said. "I love that track and it seems that I'm always able to qualify well there. Now I'd like to get another finish there and make it two wins in a row at that place. The crew has really been working hard and I think we've come along way in just a short amount of time. For sure Vision has what it takes to get victory lane this weekend."

The 200-lap, 300-mile Bombardier Learjet 500 under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway will air at 9:00 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.

-VR

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Townsend Bell , Chip Ganassi , Patrick Dempsey , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing