IRL: Pikes Peak: Vision Racing preview

VISION RACING FACES UP HILL CLIMB HEADING INTO PIKES PEAK Crash Requires Quick Fix for Vision Racing as Team Heads West INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 16, 2005) -- The midnight oil has been burning at the Vision Racing shop as the team repaired crash...

Crash Requires Quick Fix for Vision Racing as Team Heads West

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 16, 2005) -- The midnight oil has been burning at the Vision Racing shop as the team repaired crash damage suffered in the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway this past Sunday, Aug. 14. For the crew, time was of the essence as the team transporter departed for Pikes Peak International Raceway on Tuesday, Aug. 16, for the Honda Indy 225.

A broken rear suspension sent Vision Racing driver, Ed Carpenter, into the turn one wall of the Kentucky Speedway on lap 68, resulting in a 22nd place finish, and the second mechanical failure for the team in the past two races.

Carpenter was unhurt in the crash, but the memory is still painful. He said, "There was a right rear suspension failure. We are still not sure exactly what caused the failure, but it is still being investigated to determine the problem. The crash was bad, but could have been a lot worse."

Fortunately, things aren't worse for a first-year team scrambling to get Carpenter's car ready for the one-mile oval at Pikes Peak. "Luckily we have a great group of guys that will rally together, and get that car back together for Pikes Peak. We will have to work some extra hours than what we would have, but that is what you have to do under these circumstances."

Beating the odds and overcoming large circumstances is common practice for Vision Racing as they've been doing exactly that, all year. From establishing the team just weeks before the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season, to finishing eleventh in the Indianapolis 500, to the team's first top ten finish at the Nashville Superspeedway, the crew at Vision Racing know a thing or two about perseverance.

Perhaps there's no better attribute to have when falling on hard times. The past two races alone have been tough for the team. At Michigan International Speedway, Carpenter incurred a last place finish at the mercy of a blown engine. Kentucky Speedway resulted in a suspension failure and crash, thus notching the only two mechanical failures of the season for the team. Unfortunately, they came at a very inopportune time; snapping a four-race streak of finishing races.

The recent bad luck doesn't have Carpenter down. Representing a team that exudes optimism, he stated, "Well, the past two races haven't gone according to plan, but you can't always control lady luck. With three oval races left, and two road races, we just need to finish the season off on a positive note. It always makes the off season a little better when everyone leaves the track smiling."

There are just five races left in the season and the next two races couldn't be more different. The Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway consists of a one mile oval while the following week's race, the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway, presents a 2.3-mile road course. With no time in between to head back to the team shop in Indianapolis, Ind., it behooves the team to show up prepared for such diverse terrain.

"Well, we are taking three cars on this western swing," Carpenter explained. "The road race car is complete, then we will have our primary and backup car for Pikes Peak. Our crew chief, Keven Kukulewicz, is very good at planning ahead. Taking three cars on the trip makes it a lot easier. A lot of teams will have to convert a Pikes Peak car over to road course spec once they get to Sonoma."

In addition to good planning, a strong finish at Pikes Peak International Raceway would also make the trip a lot easier. Last year Carpenter was able to reign in an eleventh place finish and hopes to do the same or better again this year.

He said, "I am looking forward to getting back to a short track. At a track like Pikes Peak there is a little more emphasis on handling and not so much on power, so hopefully we will be able to take advantage of our last short track of the season. I had a decent race last year at Pikes Peak, and look forward to returning."

Despite the recent misfortunes and the tough challenges ahead, Carpenter and the team's preparation remains the same. It's Vision Racing's belief that consistent preparation will breed positive consistent results. "We just have to keep doing what we have been doing all year," added Carpenter. "I don't think it is good to try to change something just because we have had bad luck two weeks in a row. Our approach will stay the same, and we will continue to improve, and get back in our previous form."


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Ed Carpenter