IRL: Chicagoland: Patrick Carpentier race report

CARPENTIER DELIVERS ANOTHER TOP-10 FINISH IN CHICAGO -Dan Wheldon wins a record sixth IRL win in 2005 Montreal, September 11, 2005 - Patrick Carpentier finished ninth in Round 15 of the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series held ...

CARPENTIER DELIVERS ANOTHER TOP-10 FINISH IN CHICAGO

-Dan Wheldon wins a record sixth IRL win in 2005

Montreal, September 11, 2005 - Patrick Carpentier finished ninth in Round 15 of the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series held Sunday on the 2.41-kilometre (1.5-mile) oval Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The Red Bull Cheever Racing driver crossed the finish line only 0.06512 seconds behind race winner Dan Wheldon at the conclusion of the 200-lap affair. Wheldon's win was his sixth of the season, an IRL record. Wheldon only has to start the next race at Watkins Glen to be crowned the 2005 champion.

For Carpentier, it was his tenth top-ten finish this season. The Joliette, Quebec native, who started 16th, completed his tenth consecutive race finish, and still dominates the series in total laps with 2822 - 75 more than series points leader Dan Wheldon of Great Britain.

"Toyota has really improved the performance of their engine lately," said Carpentier who was the highest Toyota finisher, other than the Penske drivers. "For the first time this year, I could keep up with the leaders without relying on race cautions to maintain contact with them. We are still lacking a bit of power to go for the win on a regular basis, but we are getting there. Toyota is really working hard to catch up to Honda. We are going to Watkins Glen next week for a day of testing in order to be more competitive for the penultimate race of the 2005 season."

''In the corner just before to the Barron-Briscoe incident, Ryan (Briscoe) came close to taking me out of the race,'' continued Carpentier. ''Fortunately, I was able to avoid him, but it's disturbing when an inexperienced driver tries these manoeuvres.''

Alex Barron, Carpentier's teammate, was involved in a spectacular race incident with Australian rookie Ryan Briscoe and Japanese driver Kosuke Matsuura on lap 20. Barron and Matsuura were not injured but Briscoe, who was airlifted to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., was listed in good condition with a concussion, a bruised lung and two fractured clavicles. He will be kept over night for further observation. The race was red-flagged for 16 minutes to fix the outside fence in T4. 26-year-old Wheldon led most of 88 laps, but he won the hard way after IRL officials penalized him. He was sent to the back of the pack in 17th place for speeding in the pits during his third pit stop. The British driver fought his way back to the top on lap 179, and sailed to another Chicagoland close finish crossing the line only 0.0133-seconds ahead of Brazilian Helio Castroneves of Team Penske. Castroneves's teammate, Sam Hornish Jr. of the United States, finished third, ahead of South African Tomas Scheckter. Brazilian Tony Kanaan, Wheldon's Andretti-Green teammate, finished fifth ahead of polesitter Danica Patrick. Danica's pole was the third of her rookie career. Vitor Meira, Scott Sharp, Carpentier and Buddy Lazier rounded out the Top-10.

"I think that Honda power was the difference,'' said Wheldon. ''The two Team Penske drivers were trying to push their way by. It's always difficult to hold up, but we were able to do it. I didn't expect the race to go like that, and I didn't think I'd forget to push the pit lane speed button coming into the pits. When you make an error, as long as you make up for it, it's a good day."

There were 17 lead changes during the race involving eight drivers. Four full-course cautions slowed the race for a total of 27 laps. Sixteen of the 23 starters finished on the lead lap.

In the driver standings...

Dan Wheldon has a commanding lead with 570 points, 102 more than teammate, and defending series champion Tony Kanaan, who has 468. Sam Hornish Jr. is third with 456 points, while Dario Franchitti has 413 points. Helio Castroneves is now in fifth spot with 400 points followed by Scott Sharp with 390 points. As for Carpentier, his is down one position in tenth place with 341 points, eight less than Tomas Scheckter.

Indy Racing League IndyCar Series drivers have another week off. The next event will be held on September 25 at the Watkins Glen road course in the western part of New York State. The race will be seen live on ABC starting at 3:30 p.m. eastern. In the meantime, Carpentier and the other Toyota drivers will test on Friday, September 16 at Watkins Glen, courtesy of Toyota.

-mdo-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Briscoe , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske