Misfortunes at California Fontana, CA (October 3, 2004) Red Bull Cheever Racing's attempt to capture the checkered flag at California Speedway for the Toyota Indy 400 was impeded by two unfortunate events. Rookie Ed Carpenter was first to hit...
Misfortunes at California
Fontana, CA (October 3, 2004) Red Bull Cheever Racing's attempt to capture the checkered flag at California Speedway for the Toyota Indy 400 was impeded by two unfortunate events.
Rookie Ed Carpenter was first to hit the turn of unlucky events when he was forced to make an extra pit stop on lap 25 to fix a punctured right front tire on the No. 52 Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.
"My car started to get loose and the engineers saw on the telemetry that we were starting to lose air pressure in one tire," Carpenter explained. "It was a good call by my crew to come in and change the tire, but in the end it resulted in disaster because we went a lap down."
Despite the tire problem, Carpenter and the No. 52 crew kept their focus on the race and hoped for the chance to gain back their lap. In the end, they accepted their 12th place finish.
"As the race progressed I realized I probably wasn't going to be able to get my lap back," said Carpenter. "I was just cruising around and trying to play a smart race with the other drivers who were also laps down. On the last restart I was able to pass Kosuke (Matsuura) and maybe close the gap a little more on him towards the rookie title chase. It's at least good for your morale to be able to race someone competitively, even when you're behind."
California-native Alex Barron was gearing up for a top-ten finish when his No. 51 Chevy-powered entry made contact with the SAFER barrier in Turn 2. Barron was checked and cleared from the infield medical center.
"Everyone got going again on the restart and I went into some dirty air," Barron said. "The car came around quick, and I ended up in the wall."
Barron was looking forward to putting on an impressive show for his hometown crowd, but missed that opportunity with only 15 laps to the finish. He posted an 18th place finish.
"It's disappointing that we didn't finish the race, especially since there weren't many laps left to go," explained Barron. "My car wasn't the best one out there, but I still think we could have gained a few positions on the restart if it weren't for that mistake."
The Indy Racing League IndyCar Series title was clinched by Tony Kanaan and Andretti Green Racing with their second place finish in today's race. Round 16 of 16 is set for Sunday, October 17 at Texas Motor Speedway.