VISION RACING IS EAGER TO SEE OFF-SEASON CHANGES PUT TO TEST IN INDYCAR SERIES OPENER AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March. 21, 2006) -- A busy off-season for Vision Racing comes to a close and the team's changes and...
VISION RACING IS EAGER TO SEE OFF-SEASON CHANGES PUT TO TEST IN INDYCAR SERIES OPENER AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March. 21, 2006) -- A busy off-season for Vision Racing comes to a close and the team's changes and improvements will be put to the test for the first time in the 2006 Indy Racing League IndyCar® Series for the Toyota Indy 300, held at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Vision Racing's list off-season enhancements include:
* An expanded driver lineup for its sophomore effort.
* Ed Carpenter's return to the #20 entry with new Honda power. Carpenter enters his third IndyCar Series season and second with Vision Racing.
* Four-year IndyCar Series veteran Tomas Scheckter joined Vision in February and will pilot the new #2 Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
* The team strengthened its engineering department with the hiring of David Cripps, Scheckter's former engineer at Panther Racing.
* Both Vision cars will feature a new look and paint scheme for the 2006 season.
* Patrick Dempsey, the famed actor, passionate racer and star of ABC's drama "Grey's Anatomy," joined the team as co-owner.
The team, founded by Indy Racing League founder Tony George and his wife Laura in 2005, will feature two full-time IndyCar Series entries for the first time and everyone got a glimpse into what that might look like at the Indy Racing League open test held March 2 -- 5 at also at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Overall Carpenter and Scheckter finished 6th and 10th respectively, on the banks of the high-speed oval during the open-test.
As Vision Racing's first driver, Carpenter returns to the team providing a healthy balance of continuity and stability as the team looks to improve upon the progress made in its rookie season. Carpenter is pleased by the off-season improvements and is glad to be back in the cockpit of the #20 entry.
"I think the off-season changes are going to make a huge difference," Carpenter said. "We wouldn't have done it otherwise, but with our first test in Phoenix and second at Homestead, we got started off on the right foot. Tomas and I get along really well, and we have a great package with Dallara and Honda power, so I think we are looking very strong. I have never felt this good heading into the start of the season."
Feeling better than ever heading into the season has Carpenter looking for a career-best effort at Homestead-Miami Speedway where his best start was ninth finish was 12th, both in 2004 with Red Bull Cheever Racing. Carpenter's race ended early last year as he finished 18th after being rear-ended by Danica Patrick.
Carpenter said, "I feel that with the changes that our team has made over the winter, and my off-season preparation that I can go down there and be a contender to win. That is my goal and that is the confidence that I have right now. Ultimately, that is what I will be trying to accomplish."
Carpenter, like his teammate and crew, wants the Toyota Indy 300 to be the start of a successful year for Vision Racing. He said, "I think that both Tomas and myself will have good runs down there. Tomas had success there last year, and I have enjoyed racing there in the past. I am just looking forward to Vision Racing to starting the season off right."
The twenty-five year-old Scheckter, originally of Cape Town, South Africa, brings experience, speed, and potential to Vision Racing, all of which he hopes will lead to continued success in 2006. Scheckter plans to get right down to business at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, a track where he's qualified in third place, twice and captured the MBNA pole just this last season.
"With a good set up from practice and a few good warm up laps before qualifications, the rest will fall into place," Scheckter said. "I think we will do well. My hope is that we don't make any mistakes and we share good information. We have been working hard in the off season and at the first race I hope we get off to a solid start so we have a good foundation to build from for the remainder of the season."
Scheckter has put together some impressive qualifying attempts and race runs in his four years as an IndyCar Series driver. He has an average finish of 7.5 at the one and a half-mile oval, his best being fifth in 2004. He hopes to bring that track finishing average and his finishing average at every track on the schedule even lower in 2006. And for Scheckter, the first race is just the first step in what he hopes will be a very successful season.
He said, "My goal is to win races and hopefully at the end of the season to be a contender for the championship. As a team, if we continue to work closely together, we can achieve this."