IRL: Indy 500: Vision Racing Pole Day report

VISION RACING SHOWS STRONG QUALIFYING EFFORT FOR 90TH RUNNING OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 SPEEDWAY, Indiana -- Vision Racing continued their strong showing for the month of May by qualifying for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 in the 11th,...


SPEEDWAY, Indiana -- Vision Racing continued their strong showing for the month of May by qualifying for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 in the 11th, 12th and 15th spots with drivers Tomas Scheckter, Ed Carpenter and Townsend Bell, respectively. The team's Rock & Republic sponsored, Honda-powered Dallaras have been strong all month and today was no different.

Scheckter in the #2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone led his teammates by recording a four-lap average speed of 224.659 mph; good enough for the middle of row four in the 11th spot. This will be the second time in a row that Scheckter will start from the 11th position. His previous best start at the Indianapolis 500 is 10th in 2002 and 2004 and he has actually never started the race higher than the 12th spot, which he did in 2003.

Scheckter has also led 148 laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (85 in 2002 and 63 in 2003) and was named the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 2002. His average finish at the famed Brickyard is 17th after finishing in 20th in 2005 (accident) 18th in 2004 (running), 4th in 2003 (running) and 26th in 2002 (accident).

Right next to Scheckter on the outside of row four will be his teammate, Carpenter, who qualified in the 12th position with an average speed of 224.548 mph in the #20 Vision Racing Honda/Dallara/Firestone. This is Carpenter's best start in an IndyCar at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as in his previous two IndyCar Series starts there, he started 16th in 2004 and 26th in 2005. Carpenter's average finish in those two tries are 21st, as he finished 11th in 2005 and 31st in 2004 due to an accident.

Carpenter's history at this track runs deeper than just those two starts. Carpenter won the inaugural Indy Pro Series Freedom 100 in 2003 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, making him an inaugural winner at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway along with Ray Haroun (Indianapolis 500), Jeff Gordon (Brickyard 400), and Michael Schumacher (United States Grand Prix).

Vision Racing's third entry, the #90 Rock & Republic Vision Racing Honda/Dallara/Firestone with Indianapolis 500 rookie driver, Bell, created a bit of drama for The Run for the WorldPoints Visa Card Pole on Coca-Cola Throwback Day. Bell actually was the second car to qualify today securing the 16th position after the majority of qualifying was finished.

Unsatisfied with the run, the team brought the car back out later in the afternoon and Bell proceeded to clock quicker practice laps than his qualifying attempt earlier in the day. Taking a gamble, the team withdrew the original attempt and with less than 30 minutes remaining in the qualifying session, he made a second attempt.

Unfortunately, Bell was not able to match his quicker practice speeds, but did manage to average 224.374 mph,; moving him up one position and a row. That put him in the 15th spot, just behind teammate, Carpenter, in the fifth row for the start of the race. Bell's 15th place starting position is his first at Indianapolis; however Bell's IndyCar Series resume features 11 starts (10 in 2004 and one in 2005), five top 10 finishes and one top five finish all for Panther Racing. As a rookie in the Indianapolis 500, Bell is competing for the JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year honors. Only one rookie will start the race higher than Bell.

Vision Racing looks to move up the field quickly when the green flag drops at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500. The 200-lap, 500-mile race starts at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, May 28th and will be broadcast live on ABC Sports, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145, and on the web at Bump Day action is set for tomorrow, Sunday, May 21.

Tomas Scheckter -- #2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Qualifying Average Speed: 224.659 mph
Qualifying Position: 10th

On qualifying run:
"The run was good, but we'll just have to see how the other cars stack up. I thought we'd do around 224 (mph) or 225 (mph) and to go out there and do that, I'm fairly happy. Everybody at Vision has done an excellent job of prepping these Rock & Republic cars and I just have to thank them for putting in the hard work and allowing me to put in a decent first qualifying."

Ed Carpenter -- #20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Qualifying Average Speed: 224.548 mph
Qualifying Position: 13th

On qualifying run:
"I think what we ran is about what we had. I went a little bit quicker this morning, but that's about all we had. It's hard to get a real good read on what you have in the practice session, but I'm happy with the run and with the whole team. They've all done a good job in getting the car here and ready. They've done a lot of work to get us this far. I think we may have been a little better had we been able to qualify the cars the first weekend. When we unloaded the cars they were fast off the trailer, and I think in the delay, some other teams were able to catch up with our speed. It's been a good month and if we stay on this time, I think it will be my best starting spot here so there's nothing to complain about."

Townsend Bell-- #90Rock & Republic Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Qualifying Average Speed: 224.374 mph
Qualifying Position: 15th

On first qualifying run:
"I am a little bit shocked about how our speeds slowed down. I wouldn't be surprised if we went back and looked at the data and found that something went a little off. We shouldn't have been that slow. The car setup was great and if felt good through the corners and handled really well. I was pretty happy with the balance as it was about what I expected. Somehow though, down the straights we just weren't pulling like we should."

On second qualifying run:
"We are still confused. I mean, we went out in practice and I did 224 (mph) and 225 (mph) and we put the tires on to try it again and we'd lose a half a mile and hour. I don't know what is going on, but somehow we aren't doing something right. I thought we would jump up into another row or too, so I'm a little bummed about that, but I'm still happy that we went forward and the Rock & Republic car will be strong from the fifth row."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tomas Scheckter , Michael Schumacher , Townsend Bell , Ed Carpenter
Teams Panther Racing