IRL: Michigan: Cheever Racing race report

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Despite some early difficulties, Red Bull Cheever Racing extended its string of top-10 finishes today at Michigan International Speedway in the Firestone Indy 400. Both Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier began the day with a...

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Despite some early difficulties, Red Bull Cheever Racing extended its string of top-10 finishes today at Michigan International Speedway in the Firestone Indy 400.

Both Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier began the day with a 30-minute final practice session, but a gearbox malfunction caused the motor in the #83 car to give out on the last lap in the session. The crew then rolled up their sleeves and pulled off a quick engine change, but the failure forced Carpentier to begin the race at the back of the field.

Carpentier didn't let the early adversity stand in his way and worked his way up the field steadily. On lap 144, trouble came to the #83 crew when the #33 car lost a tire, which came sailing into the pit box and took out the outside rear tire changer, Josh Junge. The accident didn't affect Carpentier's position on the track (12th at the time), and Junge was taken to a local hospital for further observation.

With a quick final pit stop and strategic driving, Carpentier then was able to guide his car to a ninth place finish. This marks his third consecutive top 10 and his seventh on the season. The result also continues his IndyCar Series lead in laps completed.

"We made an engine change right before the race, and it seemed to make the car faster. I kept trying to hang with the leaders, but the car was sliding a bit. We made some improvements in the pits, but not enough to run with the front guys. We're still missing some speed, so we'll just have to look into what we can do to make the car faster for the upcoming races. Overall, though, I'm happy to get another top 10. It's good for the team, and it just shows how hard we're working," Carpentier said.

Barron jockeyed back and forth with his teammate for a majority of the race, which saw them both greatly improve from their starting positions. He was running in 10th with eight laps to go, but couldn't hang on and fell to 11th when the checkered flag dropped.

"It was a long 400 miles. The car was a little unbalanced at the beginning, which forced us to run with the slow group. That eventually forced us to go a lap down. We're just struggling to find speed on these longer tracks. But, we're definitely going to get back to work this week at a Toyota test in Kentucky, so hopefully we'll make some gains there. The team is really working hard, so we'll just have to keep after it until we find what we're looking for," Barron said.

The race results leave the team in the same positions in league standings, with Carpentier in 10th and Barron in 12th. However, both drivers closed the gap between themselves and the drivers ahead of them.

Red Bull Cheever Racing will now get a much-needed break in the schedule before a series of three races during August. The next race is the Amber Alert Portal 300 at Kentucky Speedway. It will take place on Sunday, Aug.14 at 3:30 p.m. ET and will air live on ABC.

-cheeverracing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Barron