Watkins Glen: Patrick Carpentier race report

CARPENTIER LEADS 7 LAPS AND GAINS 18 SPOTS I NASCAR NEXTEL CUP DEBUT RACE AT WATKINS GLEN August 12, 2007 -Patrick Carpentier led seven laps in his first-ever NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International, Round 27 of 41 of...

CARPENTIER LEADS 7 LAPS AND GAINS 18 SPOTS I NASCAR NEXTEL CUP DEBUT RACE AT WATKINS GLEN

August 12, 2007 -Patrick Carpentier led seven laps in his first-ever NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International, Round 27 of 41 of the 2007 schedule held Sunday in New York. The Canadian driver, who lives in Las Vegas, ran 13 of the 90-laps in the Top-10 in his debut with Gillett Evernham Racing to finish 22nd overall in the #10 Valvoline Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger. In a race that saw him ascend and descend the field many times, he finally gained 18 spots from his grid position, passing many of his fellow competitors several times in the race. Carpentier's lead in a Nextel Cup race was the first of the year for the Gillett Evernham Racing team. Carpentier took over from Scott Riggs' ride for the road course event in the #10 Valvoline Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger.

Carpentier started from 40th on the grid after qualifying was rained out on Friday, even though he had posted laps in the Top-10 earlier that day. The Quebec-born driver was running 29th on lap 10 when he made his first pit stop. He came out 37th overall. Then, he quickly moved up the field when the leaders pitted during a full course yellow on lap 28. Carpentier's moment of fame came four laps later when the race leader came into the pits to hand over the lead to the Canadian driver. He led seven laps, and is listed as the third-placed driver for most laps led in this race behind eventual winner Tony Stewart with 20 and Jeff Gordon who dominated the event with 51 laps in the lead. Late in the race, the team brought Carpentier back into the pits for a splash and go to place him in the same sequence as the leaders. It was then that he fell out of competition into the 37th spot on lap 67. He did however come back to finish 22nd out of the 43 starters.

"It was crazy out there, but I am very happy with the outcome," said Carpentier who has personal sponsorship from Mecachrome. "We did it today. I was kind of disappointed yesterday following the Busch race because there were so many variables between the two cars and with no experience in any of them, it made life kind of difficult. Today, I am happy with the result. I led the race ahead of Stewart (Tony) and Gordon (Jeff) and I felt no pressure. The team admitted that they did bring me in one time too many, and it is where I lost so many positions in the race. I also made some rookie mistakes, especially during my stop on lap 60 (he lost 16 positions) when I stalled the engine before leaving the pits, but I have learned a lot today. I was also punted off-course four times, twice by Jeremy Mayfield, but we evened the score at the end of the race. I had enough of his antics."

The race was slowed down with eight full-course yellow cautions for 20 laps, and race officials red flagged the race for more than 10 minutes to clear the track of debris on lap 76. Race winner Tony Stewart won his third race in the last four events, crossing the finish line 2.461 seconds ahead of Denny Hamlin. Jimmy Johnson finished third ahead of Canadian Ron Fellows to make it a Chevrolet top-four position sweep in the race. Carpentier was the fourth highest placed Dodge finisher behind Kurt Busch in 11th place, Randy Newman in 13th and David Stemme in 21st.

Jeff Gordon, who led the race with two laps to go, spun out in corner one to give Stewart the win. He finished ninth.

-credit: www.carpentier.ca

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Kurt Busch , Patrick Carpentier , Ron Fellows , Scott Riggs , Denny Hamlin , David Stemme