Wheldon Qualifies Seventh at Chicagoland Speedway; Carpenter 11th Both Panther Racing Entries Near Top of Field for Saturday Night Oval Shootout JOLIET, Ill. - (August 27, 2010) -- National Guard driver Dan Wheldon secured Panther Racing's...
Wheldon Qualifies Seventh at Chicagoland Speedway; Carpenter 11th
Both Panther Racing Entries Near Top of Field for Saturday Night Oval Shootout
JOLIET, Ill. - (August 27, 2010) -- National Guard driver Dan Wheldon secured Panther Racing's best qualification effort of the season at Chicagoland Speedway and will start seventh for tomorrow's PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300. Teammate Ed Carpenter, who is running the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium entry in collaboration with Vision Racing, qualified in the 11th position for tomorrow's race despite overcoming a suspension failure in the first practice session of the day.
Wheldon posted a two-lap average of 215.099 mph, which is comprised of his two qualification laps of 215.096 mph and 215.102 mph. Carpenter posted a two-lap average of 214.831 mph, which came from lap times of 25.4398 seconds and 25.4540 seconds.
It was an eventful first practice session for both Panther entries. Carpenter experienced an issue with his right-rear suspension while entering turn three and had a brush with the wall. The Panther/Vision crew repaired the car quickly but was unable to get back on track before the end of the session. The No. 4 team also had to make a quick trip to the garage in the middle of the session to make a change to the car, but the National Guard team was able to return the car to the track and run the final half of practice.
Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda
"I think the team has done a really, really good job. We didn't run as much as we perhaps would have liked in the practice session, but the National Guard Panther Racing team worked hard and we had a good, solid qualification run. Tomorrow we just want to drive to the front of the field as quick as we can and stay there. I've got a good car and Ed (Carpenter) has a good car and you can see that based on how we qualified and the speeds that we've done. It's so competitive out here that it's a benefit to have information that you can share; not only between us as teammates but also through the team. Ed and I work very, very well together - so if one thing works for one and something else doesn't work for the other we can combine setups for the race and hopefully have a better overall package because of that. This qualification is just a small part of it and we've got a warm-up still to work hard in to make sure we've got a good car tomorrow for the race.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka
"We got off to a rocky start and didn't get to practice before qualifying. There's a big bump between Turn 3 and Turn 4 and we had a problem with the rear suspension that sent me off into the wall during practice this morning. It was unfortunate not to get in some track time but I knew the team set me up with a good car. I messed up the first lap in qualifying a little bit. For not practicing at all we did okay. It's a tough field but if you play your cards right and do your job, I think the Panther cars are good enough to expect a Top Five and contend for a win. The No. 20 Fuzzy Ultra Premium Vodka car had good speed at Indy, (Dan) Wheldon was fast at Kansas, so we're expecting to do well. With my experience at these places combined with Panther Racing who has had a lot of success over the years on mile and a half ovals, I think we are all expecting to be strong in the remaining races.
On having a 29-car field:
"There was a big field last year and it makes it fun. It's encouraging to see. Big car count, crowded pit lane, I think it's cool. I'm glad to see us a big field. Even with us having 29 cars for a race, the quality of the field and quality of the drivers is by far the best its ever been so it's a lot of fun to be part of this series right now."
-source: panther racing