Darlington: Patrick Carpentier preview

Patrick Carpentier has never been to Darlington Raceway, but he's been reading about it. The open wheel veteran but NASCAR rookie bought a NASCAR history book at a Daytona bookstore in February. When he's not racing the No. 10 LifeLock Dodge or...

Patrick Carpentier has never been to Darlington Raceway, but he's been reading about it.

The open wheel veteran but NASCAR rookie bought a NASCAR history book at a Daytona bookstore in February. When he's not racing the No. 10 LifeLock Dodge or spending time with wife Anick and two young children, the Quebec native has read about the drivers, machines and tracks that made NASCAR one of the world's fastest growing sports.

While Carpentier studies his new sport's history, he's been adding to its international appeal. At Richmond, he earned the No. 10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports team its best qualifying spot of the year, when he took the fourth position. He's qualified for the last five races despite not visiting three of the five tracks.

The 36-year-old hopes to continue the impressive qualifying streak this weekend in Darlington. . Carpentier believes the limited testing opportunities on the track's new surface might level the playing field between the rookie and NASCAR veterans.

TV and Radio Times: Qualifying is set for Friday at 5:15 p.m. (ET) on SPEED TV and MRN Radio. Race time on Saturday is 7:20 p.m. (ET) on Fox and MRN Radio.

PATRICK CARPENTIER:

ON DARLINGTON: "Darlington is going to be very interesting, to say the least. This will be another track that I haven't been to. But I'm excited to go to a track with as much history as Darlington has. A lot of the legends of the sport have raced there. Guys like Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker and David Pearson. I've been reading my NASCAR history book and those guys put down a lot of laps around that track. I was looking at pictures of how close they ran up against the wall in the corners. I was like, 'are you serious?' I wish they could tell me some of their secrets. I know I'll need some tips to make this race.

"I hope the new racing surface will help level the playing field for me. I don't think the track has seen anything other than testing, so when we get to race conditions things may be different. The track will be a lot smoother and faster than it was in the past. Getting my first Darlington stripe will be really cool. Hopefully, it's not too big. Elliott Sadler told me if you don't get a stripe on your car, you're not going fast enough. If that's true, I hope we have the whole right side of the car full of stripes."

A BRIEF RECAP OF LAST WEEK: "As a team, we're moving on. We had high hopes last weekend after qualifying so well. That didn't really work out in the race though. We just got caught up in something that wasn't our mess. It happens in racing. We're keeping our heads up and our eyes focused on the upcoming races. The LifeLock crew is testing at Charlotte on Monday and Tuesday this week. GEM has a history of running well at Charlotte and we want to use the test to make the most of that race.

Carpentier will be driving chassis No. 232. Backup is No. 218.

* This is Carpentier's first trip to Darlington Raceway. * He has been preparing for the track by utilizing a race simulator, watching races and even reading up on the history of the track. * Carpentier must qualify on time since he is outside the top-35.

-credit: gem

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Bobby Allison , Elliott Sadler , Buddy Baker , David Pearson