A MECHANICAL PROBLEM AND A COMPETITOR'S ERROR COST CARPENTIER SEVERAL POSITIONS AT THE FINISH - Scott Sharp Ends Victory Drought With Win at Kentucky Montreal, Sunday, August 14, 2005 - Canadian driver Patrick Carpentier's weekend in the...
A MECHANICAL PROBLEM AND A COMPETITOR'S ERROR COST CARPENTIER SEVERAL POSITIONS AT THE FINISH
- Scott Sharp Ends Victory Drought With Win at Kentucky
Montreal, Sunday, August 14, 2005 - Canadian driver Patrick Carpentier's weekend in the State of Kentucky did not end the way he had hope for as he finished 12th overall in Round 12 of the Indy Racing League Indy Car Series race held Sunday at the Kentucky Speedway. Starting 19th for the second consecutive race, the Red Bull Cheever Racing driver was never able to catch up to the leaders as he ran most of the 200-lap race between 10th and 15th place. After the last pit stop on lap 177, he was right on the heels of his teammate when disaster struck. First, his sway bar broke, which prevented him from adjusting his car as the green flag fell for the final restart, and then Danica Patrick, who was 16 laps down, suddenly braked in front of Carpentier who had to do the same to avoid hitting her. Several cars ran full blast past the Canadian driver, who was not able to do anything about it. Despite his 12th place finish, Carpentier is still 10th in the standings with 267 points, 20 points away from 9th place held by South African driver Tomas Scheckter.
''The sway bar (a stabilizing bar that controls the fore and aft rocking motion of the car) broke after the last pit stop,'' Carpentier said. ''To make matters worse, Danica (Patrick, 16 laps down on the leaders) who was ahead of me for the final restart, suddenly slammed on the brakes as the green flag was waved, and I had to do the same to avoid contact. Several cars passed me as they were all on full throttle while I was on the brakes. It's quite disappointing. I was running along well until this happened. The last restart is the most critical one in IRL. When something like this happens, your day is almost over. The Toyota engine was running well today, but we still need more power to challenge the Honda powered cars. As for the next event on the short one-mile Pikes Peak track, I will let you know how things go after the first day of practice.''
Dan Wheldon was dominant in this race leading 104 of the 200-lap AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300, but finished third, half a second behind race winner Scott Sharp. The American driver fended off attacks, during the last 31 laps, from Brazilian driver Vitor Meira of Team Rahal Letterman who finished second, only 0.0779 seconds behind Sharp. Dan Wheldon actually lost the lead and the race during his last pit stop as he overshot his pit box, which led his Andretti-Green crew to lose at least two seconds getting him out of the pits. That was enough for Sharp to come out first, followed by Meira. Sharp hung on for the second consecutive win for Fernandez Racing (Adrian Fernandez won in 2004). For Sharp, it was his first win in 41 IRL races, with his previous victory coming in the 2003 race at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan. Sharp led the race for the first time this season when he took over first place from Dan Wheldon on lap 134. From then on, it was a battle for the lead between Sharp and Wheldon, until Dario Franchitti came into the pits with mechanical problems. Scott had lost the right left wheel as he left the pits following his first stop (lap 31) but came back from 18th to run third until his retirement on lap 168. Brazilian Vitor Meira then chased Sharp after the final stop but was never able to pass him.
Fourth place, a season high, went to Red Bull Cheever Racing driver Alex Barron, followed by Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves. Buddy Lazier finished sixth ahead of fellow countryman Sam Hornish Jr., of the UnitedStates.
There were 16 lead changes among four drivers (Kanaan, Wheldon, Meira and Sharp). Four full course yellows were thrown during the race for a total of 28 laps. Sixteen of the 23 starters were still running at the finish.
Rookie Danica Patrick, who started from the pole for the second time this year, did not even lead into turn one as Brazilian Tony Kanaan came from fifth place on the grid to lead lap one. Kanaan and Andretti-Green teammate Dan Wheldon exchanged the lead until lap 98 when Kanaan retired in the pits with a right rear wheel bearing failure, the same problem that caused Dario Franchitti's retirement. As for Danica Patrick, she then slowly faded down the field. She then stalled the engine during her second pit stop and had gearbox problems to finish in 16th place, the last driver running. South African Tomas Scheckter, who started 22nd after changing his engine before the race, was running third on lap 82 when he had to retire in the pits because of gear problems.
In the provisional standings... Wheldon still leads with 455 points, 90 points ahead of Sam Hornish who totals 365 points, 15 more than Tony Kanaan. Franchitti is still fourth with 345 points. Race winner Scott Sharp moves into fifth place with 326 points, ten more than Helio Castroneves. As for Carpentier, he is still in 10th place with 267 points.
The 10th season of IRL IndyCar competition continues with the Honda Indy 225 at the Pikes Peak International Raceway on August 21. Round 13 will be broadcast live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. (EDT).