VISION RACING SUCCESS IN KANSAS LOTTERY INDY 300 BODES WELL FOR GOOD MONTH OF MAY KANSAS PROVIDES TEAM CHANCE TO GAIN MOMENTUM HEADING INTO INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 27, 2007) -- There is just one more final tune-up before the...
VISION RACING SUCCESS IN KANSAS LOTTERY INDY 300 BODES WELL FOR GOOD MONTH OF MAY
KANSAS PROVIDES TEAM CHANCE TO GAIN MOMENTUM HEADING INTO INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 27, 2007) -- There is just one more final tune-up before the month of May and the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500. The Kansas Lottery Indy 300 at the Kansas Speedway is that last chance for Vision Racing drivers Tomas Scheckter, Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV to gain precious momentum heading into the IndyCar Series' crown jewel.
Of course, the trio of Vision Racing drivers is not overlooking this weekend's race at Kansas. The race not only provides Vision Racing the opportunity to get the month of May started off on the right foot, but it is also a chance for the team to score a fourth consecutive top 10 finish for the team in as many races.
"Last season we had a very good car at Kansas but were slowed in the race by some electrical issues so I am very confident that we will be up front this season," Carpenter recalled. "It is important for our whole team to get into a good rhythm in Kansas to put us in a good position heading into May."
Carpenter is coming off a disappointing 15th place finish a last weekend's 300-mile affair at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi. In spite of making his first running finish at Motegi, Carpenter is hungry to get back to early season form which saw him earn a sixth place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
He said, "Finishing the race in Japan was about the only positive from that race. It was my first finish there, but not one that I was proud of. I am looking forward to getting back on pace and form at Kansas."
Carpenter has three previous attempts at Kansas. In 2004 he started in the 16th spot and finished in 14th with Cheever Racing. In 2005 with Vision Racing he started from the 18th position and finished 17th, while last year he started and finished from the 16th spot. In all three events Carpenter was running at the end. Currently Carpenter and the No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone reside at 13th in the IndyCar Series driver point championship.
Carpenter's second-year teammate, Scheckter, might be able to help Carpenter get to back to early season success this weekend at Kansas. Let alone the fact that Scheckter's is on a streak that boasts three-straight top 10 finishes in the first three races of the season and a seventh place ranking in the championship point standings, but he also has a tenure of great success on the 1.5-mile oval of Kansas.
Scheckter held the pole at Kansas Speedway during his rookie season in 2002 with Cheever Racing. In fact, Scheckter's worst start at Kansas is eighth, just last season. Outside of last season, he has never started worse than fifth at Kansas. In 2003 he started on the front row in the second spot, then in 2004 he started the race from fifth, and 2005 from fourth. His average starting position at Kansas is fourth.
In the last four attempts at Kansas, Scheckter has been running at the finish. Only in 2002 did he not finish as he was involved in an accident and finished 15th. In 2003 he finished ninth, followed by 15th in 2004. In 2005 he earned his best finish at Kansas with Panther Racing when he brought the car home in fifth and last season he finished seventh in the No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
"Last season we had a good racecar at Kansas and put in a decent showing," Scheckter noted. "We could have performed better, but we ran a solid race and finished seventh. I've had some success at Kansas, I like the track, and I am excited to go back. We've got a great run going so far this season and I think we can continue that this weekend at Kansas and get ourselves in a good position to do well at Indy."
Before making his own return to Indy after a one year hiatus, Foyt is looking to make a return to Kansas and he's aiming to get the No. 22 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone in to the top 10 for the first time in 2007. He's put together two straight running finishes, but was unpleased with his 13th place run this past weekend at Motegi.
"It's been a while since I've been to Kansas so I'm looking forward to going back, but this time with Vision," Foyt said. "Since it's just a two day weekend we need to be fast out of the box and given the team's performance on ovals so far this season, I think we can do that. We were pretty quick at Japan right out of the gate, but we didn't back it p on the track come race time. We had a faster car than what we finished so I want to make that up at Kansas. The guys at the shop have been working hard to put together some good cars for this weekend, so I'm excited to go racing."
In three previous attempts at Kansas Speedway, driving for Foyt Enterprises, A.J. Foyt IV has a best start of 14th and best finish of 13th, both in 2004. His average finish at Kansas is 14.6 after finishing 15th in 2003 (engine), 13th in 2004 (running) and 16th in 2005 (running). He will be making his fourth attempt and first with Vision Racing at Kansas in 2007. He currently is 17th in the driver point championship standings.
One thing is for certain, the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 provides enough motivation alone for Carpenter, Scheckter and Foyt to perform well. However, with the thought of the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 looming just around the corner, perhaps the pressure to run well and gain moment before the month of May is even greater this weekend.
Scheckter summed it up well, "No question, I can't get the month of May out of my head. I'm focusing on Kansas right now, but with May almost upon us, I am excited about spending the month in Indy. It's the best month of the year and something I'm looking forward to for sure. I had a good car at Indy last year and made a mistake early in the race which cost me a good finish. I'm determined to change that this year. So having a good run at Kansas will put us in a position to have a good month at Indy."
The 300-lap, 200-mile Kansas Lottery Indy 300 gets started on the 1.5-mile oval of Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon, April 29th. The race will air at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN2, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.