IRL: Detroit: Vision Racing preview

VISION RACING TO COMPETE ON THE STREETS AT BELLE ISLE FINAL STREET COURSE OF SEASON FEATURES DEBUT OF NEW CIRCUIT INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 30, 2007) -- Vision Racing will return to the state of Michigan for the second time this season, only...


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 30, 2007) -- Vision Racing will return to the state of Michigan for the second time this season, only this trip has them headed a little further east towards Detroit and The Raceway at Belle Isle for the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone.

The IndyCar Series will be making their debut on the temporary street course this weekend as will Vision Racing drivers Ed Carpenter, A.J. Foyt IV and Tomas Scheckter. The 2.125-mile, 14-turn road course is set-up on the 992-acre Belle Isle Park; an island amidst the Detroit River and connected by the MacArthur Bridge.

The team's best finishes on a road or street course is sixth scored by Scheckter on the streets of St. Petersburg this year and Carpenter's sixth place run at Watkins Glen International, last season.

In addition to his strong run at St. Petersburg, Scheckter's road and street course races this season include nursing an ill-handling car to finish 13th at Watkins Glen, finishing ninth in his debut at Mid-Ohio, and taking eighth just last weekend at Infineon Raceway.

Last Sunday's eighth place drive by Scheckter put his No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone in the top-10 for the ninth time this season and for the second straight time following his fifth place run at Kentucky Speedway. The eighth place finish moved Scheckter up one spot in the IndyCar Series championship point standings to ninth.

While Belle Isle will present him with a whole new set of challenges for earning his third straight top-10 finish and more championship points, he's excited for the opportunity and the chance to race on a new course.

"It will be good to go there and race," Scheckter said. "It's been a while since they've hosted a race and I've heard good things about some of those races and improvements they've made for our race. I think we are going to have a good atmosphere at the track. This will be our first street course since St. Pete where we ran pretty well so I'm hoping we can have another run like that this weekend"

In spite of sharing the team's best road and street course finish, Carpenter has not had the best of fortune on those tracks this season. At St. Petersburg, Carpenter started 16th and ran as high as 10th, but an incident with teammate, Foyt, ended his race early and left him in 18th. Recently at Watkins Glen, Carpenter started 17th and ran very strong, consistent laps giving him a 12th place finish. At Mid-Ohio, Carpenter started and finished 16th and most recently at Infineon he finished 13th.

Carpenter commented, "I think this should be a pretty cool event. Like St. Petersburg, this should have a pretty good atmosphere. I just hope our performance can match it. We've been showing some progress on these road and street courses, but we aren't where we need or want to be. To our advantage, this is the first time for the Series on this track, so we need to take advantage of that the best we can."

Just last weekend, Carpenter and the No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools machine moved back up one spot to 14th in the point standings. He will be vying for his sixth top-10 finish this Sunday at Belle Isle.

In spite of having just four road/street course races under his belt in his IndyCar Series career, the third driver in the Vision Racing stable, Foyt, has shown a great deal of potential in each outing. He has finished three of those four events and was only six laps from the finish last weekend at Infineon before Scott Sharp knocked him out of the race; snapping his streak.

In his first road/street course attempt on the streets of St. Petersburg, Foyt started 17th and finished 13th and at Watkins Glen he started 16th and ended the race in 15th. At Mid-Ohio, Foyt started 14th and finished 13th, however last Sunday's accident dropped him and the No. 22 Vision Racing Honda powered Dallara to 15th in the Series point standings.

"Unfortunately, our last race didn't turn out how we would have liked, so getting to the finish this weekend is our first focus," Foyt said. "I know the guys will give me a good car to get me there, we just need to develop a good racecar those first practice sessions and run a clean race. I think going to Detroit will be cool. I've heard a lot about the effort they put into getting this course ready for us so I'm anxious to see it and race there."

Foyt has the team's highest finish of the season, a third place drive at Kentucky Speedway, and has been running at the finish in 11 of 15 races this season.

-credit: vr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , A.J. Foyt , Ed Carpenter