IRL: Watkins Glen: Vision Racing preview

VISION RACING AIMS FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS AT WATKINS GLEN TEAM LED 12 LAPS AND SCORED BEST ROAD COURSE FINISH AT THE GLEN LAST SEASON INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 4, 2007) -- Given the team's success last year on the historic 2.45-mile road...

VISION RACING AIMS FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS AT WATKINS GLEN

TEAM LED 12 LAPS AND SCORED BEST ROAD COURSE FINISH AT THE GLEN LAST SEASON

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 4, 2007) -- Given the team's success last year on the historic 2.45-mile road course of Watkins Glen International that sits amongst the picturesque Finger Lakes region of New York, it's no wonder that Vision Racing is excited to make a return trip this year.

Last year's event at Watkins Glen International saw both Vision Racing entries driven by Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter finish in the top-10 for the first time. Not to mention, Carpenter scored both a personal and team best road course finish when he drove from ninth up to fifth and eventually finished sixth all in the closing laps.

Scheckter also had a breakthrough moment in the race when he started 15th, switched to slick tires just a few laps into the race in spite of a moist track, and drove all the way to the front to lead 12 laps. He finished 10th. The team hopes this year's Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix produces even more top-10 finishes, more laps led and even a top-five finish for Carpenter, Scheckter and their teammate, A.J. Foyt IV.

And why shouldn't Vision Racing raise their sights? After all, the team is coming off back-to-back top-10 finishes in races at Iowa Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. In the last two weeks, Carpenter qualified fifth at Iowa and finished sixth in the No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Then he backed that up with a tenth place run at Richmond, while teammate Scheckter in the No. 2 Honda powered Dallara took seventh.

The top-10 finishes not only provide much needed momentum heading into this week's 10th of 17, 2007 IndyCar Series events, but also brings the team total up to 12 top-10s and counting. Leading the team is Scheckter with six top-10 finishes thus far, followed by Carpenter with four, while Foyt and Davey Hamilton have one apiece.

Recent momentum won't be the only thing on the drivers' side when they take to the track this weekend. They will also rely on an open-test they each took part in this past month at a similar facility in the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Mid-Ohio's 2.4-mile layout provided the team with a sneak peek of what's to come at Watkins Glen this weekend.

Foyt, who will be making his debut at Watkins Glen this weekend in the team's No. 22 entry, is especially grateful for the chance to hone his road course skills at Mid-Ohio in June.

Foyt said, "Luckily I was able to test at Mid-Ohio not too long ago which should help me a little this weekend since I've never driven at Watkins Glen. I think it's going to be a pretty cool place to drive. I hear that it has a lot of challenging turns and it's tough to drive so I'm going to have to rely on my teammates to help me figure the track out a little bit, but I'm looking forward to going there and giving it a shot."

In his first IndyCar street course race earlier this year on the streets of St. Petersburg, Foyt started 17, finished 13th and was running at the finish. Fans will get a special opportunity to watch the young Texan cut his teeth at The Glen as race title sponsor, Camping World, will be supplying Foyt's machine with an in-car camera during the ABC Sports live race broadcast.

Both Carpenter and Scheckter have two previous starts at Watkins Glen under their belts, but like Foyt, they still will be relying on the Mid-Ohio test to try and improve upon their impressive run last year.

"Last year I earned my best road course finish at Watkins Glen last year and I would like to go back and improve on that," Carpenter said. "We took advantage of the rain last year and really took off and made up some spots at the end, which was a lot of fun. Our testing at Mid-Ohio recently is going to help us put together an even better car this year, so we'll see if we can't get an even better result this year."

When the IndyCar Series visited the 2.45-mile road course at Watkins Glen International for the first time in 2005, Carpenter started in the 20th spot and worked his way up to 14th to finish the race. Last year's drive which featured an 18th place start, a drive all the way up to fifth, and a sixth place finish in what is currently a personal and team best road course finish for Carpenter and Vision Racing.

Scheckter's first race at Watkins Glen was with Panther Racing when he started 10th, but a mechanical failure ended his race early and left him in 20th position. Last year for Vision Racing, Scheckter started 15th, drove all the way to the front and led 12 laps early in the race and eventually finished 10th.

"With the rain and changing conditions last year at Watkins Glen, we really took advantage of that and had a pretty good day," Scheckter recalled. "We led some laps and finished in the top-10 so that was good. After testing at Mid-Ohio last month, I think we have an even better road course car this year so I'm looking forward to going back there."

The 60-lap, 204-mile Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix will air live on Sunday, July 8th, at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on ABC Sports, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.

-credit: vr

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Series INDYCAR