Long Beach: Vision Racing qualifying report

VISION RACING QUALIFIES ON STREETS OF LONG BEACH LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 18, 2009)- Vision Racing drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ed Carpenter will start from the 12th and 23rd positions, respectively, tomorrow afternoon on the streets of Long...

VISION RACING QUALIFIES ON STREETS OF LONG BEACH

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 18, 2009)- Vision Racing drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ed Carpenter will start from the 12th and 23rd positions, respectively, tomorrow afternoon on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Hunter-Reay advanced out of the first round of qualifying by running in the top-12 and was able to put together a best lap of 100.588 mph and at time of 1:10.4339 in the No. 21 William Rast/Vision Racing Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine.

He will be making his fourth attempt at Long Beach, only this time will be his first in an Indy car Previously, Hunter-Reay has driven the streets of Long Beach three times for three different teams in the Champ Car World Series. His best finish here is seventh, scored two times in 2003 and 2004. His best start came in 2004 when he qualified sixth. His debut at Long Beach came in 2003 with American Spirit Team Johansson where he started 12th and finished seventh. The next year he drove for Herdez Competition, started sixth, and finished seventh.

Hunter-Reay is coming off a second place finish in the IndyCar Series season-opener at St. Petersburg and his debut with Vision Racing. He started 14th in that affair and drove all the way to a podium finish. He's hoping that starting a couple of spots better at Long Beach will translate into an even higher finish this weekend; a victory.

Adding incentive for another strong finish this weekend, Hunter-Reay's No. 21 machine is featuring a new look as sponsor William Rast has stepped up to be the car's primary sponsor for Sunday's race. The Los Angeles, Calif. based clothing company known for their premium jeans will ride along with Hunter-Reay as he looks to score back-to-back podium finishes to start the 2009 season in style.

Driving the No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Honda powered Dallara Carpenter's top lap time in qualifying came in at 1:11.9069 an average speed of 98.527 mph.

Carpenter will be making his debut on the streets of Long Beach this weekend. His previous best road/street course finish in the IndyCar Series is a sixth place finish at Watkins Glen International in 2006.

In the first race of the year in St. Petersburg, Carpenter started 22nd and drove as high as third place on lap 70 as the leaders cycled through pit stops and was running in 15th spot when he came in for his final pit stop on lap 71. Leaving the pits on cold tires, an uncharacteristic mistake put him off line and into the marbles in Turn-3, ending his day in the tire barrier. Carpenter was credited with an 18th place finish.

Like Carpenter, the team will also making their first attempt on the streets of Long Beach.

Ed Carpenter - No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"It was okay. Like I say every time, on paper it doesn't look very good, but that last lap I had a time put together that would have put us ahead of Danica [Patrick]. I was just pushing really hard and locked up the tires in the last corner and threw the lap away, but there's definitely no reason to get all upset because we're progressively getting better. It's just frustrating to start at the back of the pack. We know now that we just have to run a good race tomorrow, put together a good strategy, have me not make mistakes like I did in St. Pete and see what we can do. I'm really looking forward to next week and having some success at Kansas."

Ryan Hunter-Reay - No. 21 William Rast/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"Well, it was a tough day for us. In the first practice session we didn't get as much out of it as we would have liked and then in qualifying we advanced out of our group into the top-12, but unfortunately we were just unable to do anything with it. We had too much push in the car and we're really struggling with speed on the straight-aways for some reason, so we have to look at our aero and everything and see what is going on there. We're struggling in a few key areas and that's definitely not like us. So we'll go back and look at it tonight. We're starting two spots better than we did in St. Pete, so do the math on that and hopefully we'll come out better in the end."

-credit: vr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ed Carpenter