INDIANAPOLIS (May 29, 2005) -- It was a day plagued with bad luck for Red Bull Cheever Racing during the 89th Indianapolis 500. The first omen came at the command to start the car engines when Carpentier's car wouldn't fire, but the team got it ...
INDIANAPOLIS (May 29, 2005) -- It was a day plagued with bad luck for Red Bull Cheever Racing during the 89th Indianapolis 500. The first omen came at the command to start the car engines when Carpentier's car wouldn't fire, but the team got it started and caught up with the pack for the start.
Both Carpentier and Alex Barron were running a clean race until lap 22 when a majority of the cars came to pit under a yellow flag. When Barron entered the pit for his stop, the team had difficulties with the fuel rig. As a result, Barron was only able to take a limited load of fuel, and had to come back a few laps later to top off the tank, setting him back a lap from the leaders. Then, his bad luck continued when he was black flagged on lap 57 for speeding in pit lane and was forced to drive by again, which cost him another lap.
After the initial problems, Carpentier's day was headed in the right direction. He was running quick laps and climbing steadily in the field from his is starting position of 25th. His best lap of the day was 222.827 mph. By lap 153, Carpentier had moved into 15th before trouble came his way. During the restart, Danica Patrick spun and caused problems for several cars including the #83. It was hit from behind and also picked up a piece of debris from one of the cars involved in the incident. Carpentier was able to pull the car into pit lane, but it was smoking and the day was done as a result of an engine malfunction caused by the accident. As a result, he was left with a 21st place finish.
"The car was okay. We were going as hard as we could. On that restart someone broke loose and then everybody got together there. I was happy because I thought I cleared the accident and was okay. There were cars spinning everywhere. My spotter said someone hit me at the back but the problem was a big piece came into the airbox and went into the engine and that was it," Carpentier said.
Although his race ended early, Carpentier, an Indianapolis 500 rookie, was still in awe over the event: "It was amazing. You are racing between the crowds. Never in my life have I been to a live sporting event where I have seen so many people. It is an unbelievable experience. I am very grateful I was here."
Once the team figured out the fuel rig problems, Barron worked hard and ran a clean remainder of the race despite being three laps behind the leaders when Dan Wheldon took the checkered flag. Although he was a few laps down, he was still able to pull out a respectable 13th place finish.
"We worked hard the whole month, and it seems like it's been the longest month. We worked way too hard to finish 13th, so we're disappointed with the way things turned out. We were just plagued with some bad luck, and at the end of the day, we need to find speed with the car, but hopefully we'll get it changed soon. I wish we could have done better because it would have shown how good our team really is," Barron said.
Team manager Max Jones agreed with Barron's assessment of the day.
"It was a long day, and we couldn't get a break. We kept trying to get our laps back by staying out when the leaders headed to the pits, but we couldn't get it done. Despite the difficulties, we're a better team today than when we came here. We're just going to keep digging," Jones said.
The finishes left Carpentier and Barron in 11th and 12th (tied with Kosuke Matsuura) in IndyCar Series points standings. The team will now head to Richmond International Raceway for a Toyota test on June 2. Then, it's on to Texas Motor Speedway for the next race, the Bombardier Learjet 500 on June 11.