CARPENTIER FINISHES 13th IN JAPAN Montreal, Saturday, April 30, 2005 - Starting 14th on the grid for the Indy Japan 300, Red Bull Cheever Racing driver Patrick Carpentier gained one position in the race to finish 13th ...
CARPENTIER FINISHES 13th IN JAPAN
Montreal, Saturday, April 30, 2005 - Starting 14th on the grid for the Indy Japan 300, Red Bull Cheever Racing driver Patrick Carpentier gained one position in the race to finish 13th overall in Saturday's Round 4 of the 2005 IndyCar Series held at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. The race was slowed down eight times for 59 laps and there were eight cars that retired, but even that did not help Carpentier who finished four laps down from race winner Dan Wheldon. The Canadian driver had to make two late pit stops during the last six laps of the race.
For Wheldon, it was his third win of the season, his second consecutive in Japan and his sixth in the IRL. The Andretti Green Racing driver took the lead on lap 198 of 200, moving pass South African Tomas Scheckter who was running out of fuel. Wheldon took the checkered flag three seconds ahead of Scott Sharp of the United States. Buddy Rice, another American driver, finished third, 21 seconds back of the winner. Rookie Danica Patrick, who started second, finished fourth ahead of Bryan Herta. Only these five drivers finished on the lead lap. For Danica, it was her best finish in IRL.
There was plenty of action near the end of the race with several of the lead drivers having to pit for a splash & go, Scheckter's fuel problem and the accident of Helio Castroneves on the final lap. Several teams gambled that there would be another caution between lap 150 and 200. That situation would have given their drivers a chance to save on fuel, but it was not to be. Brazilian Tony Kanaan, who was third with two laps to go, had to come in and lost one lap and three positions to finish sixth. Same thing for polesitter Sam Hornish Jr. who went from fifth to seventh following his brief stop on lap 193. Darren Manning, who finished eight, and Kosuke Matsuura, ninth overall, both lost two positions and one lap when they came in on lap 194. As for Scheckter who took the race lead on lap 151 after the last caution period, he had a two-second lead before he ran out of fuel. He was classified 10th. Seven drivers exchanged the lead 10 times during the race.
As for Carpentier's teammate Alex Barron, he also did not have a good day. He hit the wall on lap 12. The Red Bull Cheever Racing mechanics fixed his Dallara Toyota and Barron returned to the race 78 laps down on the leader. When he moved up to 19th place, his team manager decided to call him in for the day once there were no further positions to gain.
Drivers will now prepare for the month long testing that will lead to the running of the 89th Indianapolis 500 on May 29.