CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing September 21, 2004 Champ Car World Series Patrick Carpentier, driver of the No. 7 Forsythe Championship Racing Lola, has established himself as one of the top drivers in the Champ Car World Series. Now in his eighth...

This Week in Ford Racing
September 21, 2004

Champ Car World Series

Patrick Carpentier, driver of the No. 7 Forsythe Championship Racing Lola, has established himself as one of the top drivers in the Champ Car World Series. Now in his eighth season running in Champ Cars, Carpentier has scored seven top-five finishes this season, including his first victory of the season at Laguna Seca two weeks ago. Currently fourth in the championship standings heading into this weekend's event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Carpentier reflects on his second straight win at Laguna Seca and talks about racing in his adopted hometown.

Patrick Carpentier - No. 7 Forsythe Championship Racing Lola

YOUR VICTORY AT LAGUNA SECA HAD TO FEEL REALLY GOOD, ESPECIALLY AFTER ENDURING A SPATE OF DNF'S IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON.

"It's been a pretty good season, but I had a run there of some pretty bad luck and some things happened that really took us out of championship contention, but things have been pretty good over the last couple of races. Things have been going pretty well and I was really happy with how things went at Laguna Seca. I wanted to go there and do really well, but it's been more and more competitive this year and we didn't know if we could pull it off. Montreal went really well and we had a really good race car and a good strategy for the race and it worked out well, so we went to Laguna felling pretty confident and the car was just working really well."

YOU'RE THE FIRST DRIVER SINCE BRYAN HERTA (1998-99) TO WIN BACK-TO-BACK RACES AT LAGUNA SECA. DOES THAT TRACK JUST SUIT YOUR DRIVING STYLE?

"I think it does. It has high-speed corners, a lot of elevation change, fast sweepers and stuff like that, which I really enjoy, and it's a track that I've always enjoyed racing on."

DID THE WIN HAVE ANY SPECIAL MEANING CONSIDERING THE AWKWARD OFFSEASON THAT YOU HAD?

"I wouldn't call it an explosion of joy, but it certainly gave me some profound satisfaction. I know I can win races in this series and it was good to remind everybody of that fact."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT RACING ON THE OVAL IN LAS VEGAS?

"I'm really looking forward to it. I think it's going to be a good event for us and should be a really exciting race. Everybody should be clustered together on the track and there should be a lot of close racing."

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE TEST OUT THERE EARLIER THIS YEAR?

"I think the cars have a little bit too much downforce, but it will help make it a better race. There should definitely be at least two racing lines and maybe three depending on the track conditions."

ALTHOUGH YOU'RE FOURTH IN THE POINTS, YOU'VE HAD AN UP-AND-DOWN SEASON WITH YOUR DEGREE OF SUCCESS SHIFTING ABOUT EVERY THREE RACES OR SO. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO TO HAVE A STRONG FINISH?

"Yeah, that's the way it seems to be, but I really want to finish the season on a strong note. It's been a good year for me. I've never run at the front of the championship for most of a season before and I've enjoyed being up there."

DO YOU STILL HAVE A SHOT AT THE TITLE?

"It's going to be hard. Sebastien (Bourdais) jumped out to a big lead in the points around the same time I was knocked out of some races so that's going to be difficult. But second place is in reach I would be happy to finish there."

WE'RE APPROACHING THE END OF THE SEASON, SO CAN YOU SHED ANY MORE LIGHT ON WHAT YOUR PLANS ARE FOR NEXT YEAR?

"Sure, I'll tell you what the situation is. For me to stay in Champ Car next year I have to find some sponsorship, but right now I have four different offers to drive in the IRL next year, so those are my options. But we'll see how it goes. I really enjoyed my weekend at Laguna Seca and I think the Champ Cars are great to drive, but I've never done the Indy 500 and I'd like to take a shot at it some day. But we'll see how things play out over the next couple of weeks and then make a decision."

-ford-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier