TOP FIVE AND TOP TEN FINISHES PROPEL VISION RACING ON TO ST. PETE
TEAM'S SOLID RUN AT HOMESTEAD PROVIDES MOMENTUM FOR 50TH ICS EVENT
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 2, 2007) -- In the season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, just this past weekend, team drives Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV recorded a team and personal best qualifying run of second and third, however both of the team's Honda powered Dallaras failed post-race technical inspection, relegating the team to the back of the field for the start of the race.
In the face of adversity, Vision Racing persevered as Carpenter matched a career-high with a fifth place finish while Foyt took ninth. Their emotional charge through the field at Homestead-Miami Speedway has given the team a vigor and momentum heading into the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg this weekend. Not to mention, this weekend's event will mark the team's 50th IndyCar Series race since joining the series in 2005.
Vision Racing's best finish on the streets of St. Petersburg came last season when Tomas Scheckter took the checkered flag in sixth.
Carpenter's first drive on the streets of St. Petersburg was in 2005 when he finished 19th when he and the team made their street/road course debut. The following year, Carpenter missed the event due to injury sustained in the morning warm-up in the previous race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Roberto Moreno served as Carpenter's substitute along side Tomas Scheckter. Just last season, Carpenter retired early in 18th after a 16th place start due to contact with Foyt while in 13th place.
He said "Coming off of a top five finish last weekend at Homestead is a great boost for us heading into St. Pete. It's a tight and tricky course and with more cars in the field, it's just going to be that much more difficult to run a clean race. If we can avoid trouble and be running at the finish, then I think we can come out of there with a solid finish. The team and I continue to get better on road and street courses every time we go out, so hopefully we can continue that trend this weekend at St. Pete."
At Homestead-Miami Speedway, Carpenter and the day-glo yellow No. 20 Menards sponsored, Dallara/Honda/Firestone nearly qualified on the pole. He recorded a time that was good enough for a team and career-best second, but a failed post-qualifying technical inspection moved him to a 24th place starting position. Carpenter persevered through the back-of-the-pack start to match his career-best finish of fifth; overtaking Ryan Hunter-Reay and Danica Patrick on the final lap.
"It was a good recovery," Carpenter noted. "It was a tough race, but we had a good car. All things considered, to come out of that race with a top five finish is a great start for the team."
Foyt has made two starts at St. Petersburg. Last season he finished in the 13th spot and was running at the end of the race after qualifying in 17th. In 2005 he started and finished 21st due to an accident.
He said, "Last year we were able to get a finish at St. Pete and that was step in the right direction for us. From there we got better on each road and street course so I'm optimistic that we can go back to there this year and do even better. Another top 10 finish is definitely within reach. We just need to run a clean race and be there for the finish."
In the first race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Foyt qualified a career-high third, but had to start the race in 25th after his car failed post-qualifying inspection. He charged through the field for a ninth place finish.
"Starting the race from the back obviously made it a lot more difficult to try and get around the slow cars and the cars I've never raced with before, but once we got going the car wasn't too bad," Foyt said. "It wasn't great, but we managed to come out of here with a top 10."
Perhaps a pair of top 10s remain in the future for Foyt and Carpenter on the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend.