IRL: Fontana: Cheever Racing qualifying report

FONTANA, Calif. -- The Red Bull Cheever Racing team took to the track today in sunny southern California in preparation for the Toyota Indy 400, the IndyCar Series season finale. Today's action included two practice sessions and qualifying ...

FONTANA, Calif. -- The Red Bull Cheever Racing team took to the track today in sunny southern California in preparation for the Toyota Indy 400, the IndyCar Series season finale. Today's action included two practice sessions and qualifying runs.

Both Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier struggled a bit today finding speed on the long two-mile oval at California Speedway. Carpentier's early practice efforts produced a best speed of 215.803 mph, which had him in the middle of the field. In an effort to bump up the pace, the team decided to change engines between practice and qualifying, but it failed to produce the desired result. He just missed his best time when he qualified the #83 car with a speed of 215.704 mph, which places him 16th for the start of the race.

"We missed out on the gears a little bit. There was a little bit too much of a split between fourth and fifth gears. That's okay, though. We know we have a good Toyota engine and car for the race. I am looking forward to the race. The engine we put in after practice seems to be much better. It's a long racetrack so it makes for very exciting racing. We've got to be there at the end. It's a four hundred mile race. If we are there on the lead lap at the end, we can have a fun battle," Carpentier said.

Barron trailed his teammate in the early practice sessions where his best speed was 214.900 mph. The team also made the decision to change the engine in the #51 car, which made it possible for Barron to run his best lap of the day in qualifying. His qualifying speed of 215.631 mph places him in 17th on the grid.

"We're pretty happy with our result. We made some changes with the car this afternoon between practice and qualifying and went quite a bit quicker. The balance of the car is really good, but I think the weather is supposed to be cooler tomorrow, so we're going to try to make some adjustments for warm up. We just need to find good balance in traffic. It's a long race and a really wide racetrack, so if you just keep making the car better throughout the race and you can hang in the top 10 at the end, you've got a good shot at winning. We'll just hope for the best and see what happens," Barron said.

The team will return to the track tomorrow morning for a 30-minute final warm-up session. The green flag will drop for the Toyota Indy 400 at 3:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN.

-cr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Barron