RICHMOND (June 25, 2005) -- Red Bull Cheever Racing continued its success at Richmond International Raceway today for the SunTrust Indy Challenge. Both Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron qualified well on Saturday beginning the race in fourth and...
RICHMOND (June 25, 2005) -- Red Bull Cheever Racing continued its success at Richmond International Raceway today for the SunTrust Indy Challenge. Both Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron qualified well on Saturday beginning the race in fourth and ninth (respectively), and both improved their starting positions by turning in third and sixth-place finishes. The result is the best for both drivers and the team so far this season.
While Carpentier stayed with the lead pack the entire race, nothing comes easy at the .75-mile Richmond short oval. Cars spun right in front of him three times, but he was able to steer clear of the action. For the first half of the race, he was battling with Dan Wheldon, never falling below fifth position after lap 133 of the 250-lap race. He then moved into third on lap 200 after passing Scott Sharp. His battle for position then turned to the #2 car of Tomas Enge late in the race with the two jockeying back and forth for third position. They battled side by side with just 20 laps to go when Enge was black flagged for blocking and was forced to pit lane for a drive by. This put Carpentier solidly in third, and gave him his best finish of his young IndyCar Series career.
"We ran well and qualified well. I didn't know if this was going to happen, but we kept working and working during the race. There were a lot of close calls out there, which caught up a few guys, but I love it. That's racing here. Toyota and Dallara really helped us at the test last week, and the Red Bull team gave me a really good car. It was fun in traffic...inside, outside. What an exciting race. When you're in the front, it's a different universe. I was so happy in the car, I was laughing. Wheel to wheel racing is what I like. We've (the team) been having some ups and downs, but we're going to have more of these. I love this league. That's why I'm here," Carpentier said.
Barron also was strong early in the race, and managed to steer clear of six accidents. By lap five he improved on his starting position by moving up to seventh. However, he was slowed on lap 41 when he missed his pit box coming in for fuel and tires on his first pit stop. This mistake dropped him back to 15th, but the team didn't let the mistake take away from the solid car they had prepared. The #51 car pit crew put together some great pit stops, and Barron's strategic driving moved them back up in the field to finish the race with Barron's best result of the year.
"The car was really solid all race. The first stop I came in and I was confused pitting at night. I drove up, but didn't turn in, so it put me back. We fought all the way back forward, so it shows how strong our car was. Coming in sixth, we really needed that, and it just shows that all of the hard work has paid off, and we're really happy with the result. Hopefully it's the start of a good future for us as we head down the stretch this season. I'm super happy for Patrick, he drove a very smart race finishing third," Barron said.
Team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. also was happy with the successful weekend at Richmond.
"I think the strong point of the weekend was the torque of the Toyota engine. Both drivers did a good job of working with each other throughout the weekend. I am proud of them tonight. The engineers should also be proud because this is an oval where handling is paramount," Cheever said.
The finish moved Carpentier into 10th in IndyCar Series points with Barron 16 points behind him in 14th. The team will now turn its attention to the next race, which will take place at the Kansas Speedway on Sunday, July 3. It will air live on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET.