JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 11, 2005) -- Racing at Chicagoland Speedway is known to be fast and tight. Some of the closest finishes have come at the suburban track, and today's action didn't stray from the norm, producing the eighth closest finish in...
JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 11, 2005) -- Racing at Chicagoland Speedway is known to be fast and tight. Some of the closest finishes have come at the suburban track, and today's action didn't stray from the norm, producing the eighth closest finish in league history.
Because of a technical infraction by another team found after qualifying, both drivers started higher up on the grid. Patrick Carpentier began in 16th and Alex Barron in 18th. The race started shortly before 1 p.m., and it didn't take the pair long to bring their cars up to speed and begin their customary march up the field. Just a few laps into the race, both drivers were turning some of the quickest laps on the track.
However, on lap 20, Barron's day came to an early end when the #33 car of Ryan Briscoe came up into his line and made contact with the left side of the #51 car. The #33 car became airborne and made contact with the wall and outside retaining fence, while the Barron's car made solid contact with the wall causing day-ending damage. The accident caused the red flag to be waved, which stopped action on the track while debris was cleared and the wall and fence were repaired.
Barron walked away from the incident and was later cleared by the infield medical center. This left him going home with a disappointing 21st-place finish. Briscoe was helped from the car by the Delphi Safety Team and was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
"I just felt a thump from the rear of my car. Ryan was up over me. He was upside down and there was a lot of fire. It was quick thud and then the next thing you know we were in the wall. It was all behind me and people were moving around, so I can't really say (what happened) until I see the video. I just felt a thump and a lot of fire in front of me," Barron said.
Patrick Carpentier used his teammates misfortune as motivation to bring home a strong finish. He battled back and forth with a group of cars in the lead pack throughout the race and didn't fall too far behind the leaders. After lap 141, Carpentier never fell out of the top 10 and even climbed as high as fifth on lap 168. After his final pit stop, he drove with determination to bring home a ninth-place finish, only .6512 seconds behind the winner (Dan Wheldon).
The result is Carpentier's 10th top 10 of the season, and team's eighth top 10 in the past 10 races. It also extends his league lead of laps completed.
"It was a great day for me, but I'm definitely sorry about what happened to Alex. You always hate it when these things happen, and he's just ended up in the wrong place a couple of times this year. For me, it was very fun racing today. Things were a bit crazy at the beginning, but the guys calmed down and made the car a lot of fun to drive. This was by far my best race on one of these fast ovals. It was the first time that we were able to stick with the leaders, but it's not going to be the last," Carpentier said.
The result shakes things up a bit in the IndyCar Series point standings, dropping Carpentier to 10th and leaving Barron in 11th. While Carpentier dropped one position, he remained close to the drivers in front of him.
The team now has two weeks off before traveling to upstate New York for the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix. Practice at the famed road course begins on Friday, Aug. 23, with the race taking place on Sunday, Aug. 25. It will be broadcast live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET.