VISION RACING HEADS TO RICHMOND WITH UNFINISHED SHORT TRACK BUSINESS INCIDENTS LAST WEEK AT IOWA AFTER SPEEDY SHOWING HAS TEAM YEARNING FOR MORE INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 27, 2007) -- After showing a great deal of speed last weekend on the...
VISION RACING HEADS TO RICHMOND WITH UNFINISHED SHORT TRACK BUSINESS
INCIDENTS LAST WEEK AT IOWA AFTER SPEEDY SHOWING HAS TEAM YEARNING FOR MORE
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 27, 2007) -- After showing a great deal of speed last weekend on the 7/8-mile at Iowa Speedway, Vision Racing is eager to get to the smallest oval on the IndyCar Series circuit, the ¾-mile at Richmond International Raceway for the SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM.
At Iowa, Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter qualified fifth, a personal and team high on the season, while teammates A.J. Foyt IV and Tomas Scheckter started 10th and 14th. Both Carpenter and Foyt ran as high as second in the race and Carpenter finished sixth.
However, race incidents forced Foyt and Scheckter to retire early and a faulty fuel pump with just three laps to go took Carpenter from fourth to sixth. Needless to say, Vision Racing has some unfinished short track business that the team is looking to satisfy this weekend at Richmond.
This week's ninth of 17 IndyCar Series races for 2007, happens to be held on the smallest track on the schedule and third of three short-track ovals. All three Vision Racing drivers hope that in this case, the third time is a charm.
Carpenter is aiming for a third straight top-10 finish on short-track ovals. Earlier this month at The Milwaukee Mile, Carpenter finished seventh in the No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools machine and then last weekend at Iowa, Carpenter took sixth. With an eighth place run at Richmond last year for the team, he's feeling optimistic.
"We've finished in the top-10 at the two short tracks at Milwaukee and Iowa this year so I'm ready to go to Richmond," Carpenter noted. "Last week at Iowa we had a season-best start of fifth and should have finished fourth but a fuel pump issue right before the end gave us a sixth place finish."
"So that was disappointing, but we ran well and really overcame a lot of issues in that race so I hope that we can continue to be competitive this weekend again at Richmond and get a little better luck. Last year we ran well there so I'm looking forward to going back."
Carpenter has three previous attempts at Richmond International Raceway where he's finished in the 16th spot due to an accident in 2004 with Cheever Racing and just outside of the top-10 in 2005 in the 12th position. Last year Carpenter had his best run at Richmond, starting 13th and finishing eighth.
Foyt, driver of the No. 22 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, hopes his third short track drive of the season produces better results as well. At Milwaukee, Foyt was plagued with a lack of speed, but was able to finish in the 14th spot. However, the Texan and his crew quickly got things turned around for a better showing at Iowa where Foyt felt he had his best opportunity of the season.
"We had a great car last weekend at Iowa, probably the best that we've had all year, but unfortunately we got hung up in an accident and got knocked out early," Foyt recalled. "That was really disappointing, but I know the guys will be working hard to give me a good car again this week in Richmond. I'm looking forward to going to another short track because I think we've got a good package and I'm ready to give it another shot."
Foyt has three attempts at Richmond with A.J. Foyt Racing. In his debut to the oval in 2003 he started and finished 21st due an accident. The next two years Foyt was running at the finish as he started 21st in 2004 and finished 11th and in 2005 he started 17th and finished 14th.
Scheckter is looking for a little good fortune for his third time around on the short tracks. At Milwaukee he was forced to retire early due to a broken driveshaft and Iowa's first lap incident kept him sidelined for all but a half of a lap.
Knowing that this year's short track misfortunes were out of his control, the South African is focusing solely on past successes at Richmond and improving upon those performances.
He said, "Last year we were very competitive in the race at Richmond and the team has shown some speed at short tracks this season for sure, but we've got to run a clean race at tracks like this if we want to finish, as we saw at Iowa."
Scheckter and the No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone are currently 10th in the standings, a position he's held for the last two races, but he did have a streak of five straight races in the seventh spot which is a place he'd like to return.
"I'm looking forward to going back Richmond and I just hope I can get a good finish on a short track this weekend so that we are able make a move back up into the point standings," he added.
Scheckter has finished fourth at Richmond International Raceway twice, the first time occurring in his first attempt at the track in 2002 with Cheever Racing and in 2005 with Panther Racing. Last year, Scheckter started 12th and finished seventh for Vision Racing. He has a total of five starts at the ¾-mile oval.
The 250-lap, 187.5-mile SunTrust Indy Challenge, presented by XM at Richmond International Raceway will air live on Saturday, June 30th, at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.