IRL: Vision Racing looks ahead to 2006

Scheckter, Dempsey join Carpenter for assault Vision Racing had modest expectations for 2005, after a late start to their campaign. The IndyCar Series team, run by Indy Racing League founder Tony George, was assembled weeks before the season ...


Scheckter, Dempsey join Carpenter for assault

Vision Racing had modest expectations for 2005, after a late start to their campaign. The IndyCar Series team, run by Indy Racing League founder Tony George, was assembled weeks before the season opener in Homestead without a title sponsor for George's stepson Ed Carpenter, who was left without a ride following his departure from Red Bull Cheever Racing. Carpenter's best finish of 11th came during the Indianapolis 500, a strong result considering the depth of the 33-car-field.

This year, although a title sponsor still has not been signed, Vision Racing is vastly improved as Carpenter has a new teammate in Tomas Scheckter while George has a new managing partner with Grey's Anatomy star and racing enthusiast Patrick Dempsey. Scheckter was signed shortly after the Phoenix open test, when he and Carpenter shared time in the #20 Vision Dallara-Honda. Despite a lack of continuity throughout his career, joining his fourth separate team in five IndyCar seasons, Scheckter has an open outlook for the year ahead.

"I think everything is in the right direction," Scheckter said in a conference call. "We've all got the same goal, and that's to win races. I think if we achieve that, and hopefully we can achieve that this year, we can put together a productive team and carry on for years to come." With all the field being powered by Honda engines, Scheckter will have the powerplant for the first time after running three previous manufacturers with Infiniti (2002), Toyota ('03) and Chevrolet ('04-'05). Scheckter broke through for his first win since 2002, his rookie season, at Texas last June.

For Carpenter, having a front-rate teammate will be a benefit as he enters his third full season. "It's going to be nice to have a teammate again, period," he said. "But definitely having Tomas as a teammate is going to be great. I mean, we seem to like similar things in the car. Me, Tomas and our engineer David Cripps all communicate really well together." Carpenter has finished just 16th and 18th in the final standings his first two years, with a realistic goal likely achieving a number of top tens.

Dempsey will attempt to balance the roles of acting and racing in 2006, as he will also contest races in the Grand-Am Cup Series. "There's a warmth in the league that I did not find in other series," Dempsey commented. "I really am very confident with Ed and Tomas this year, especially with Honda, after the test, you know, we have a really good chance of getting up there and getting some wins."

Asked whether he would ever like to contest a car, Dempsey said, "I have no business getting on the oval. Road racing, I would love to get it in the car. Certainly in the (Indy) Pro level, I would love to do a test in that."

In a field deep with talent, Vision Racing looks ready to make the next step to join the upper echelon of teams and score their breakthrough victory.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Dempsey , Ed Carpenter