VISION RACING TRAVELS TO RICHMOND LOOKING TO BUILD OFF RECENT SUCCESS INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 21, 2006) -- After a much deserved week away from racing, the IndyCar Series returns to action for the SunTrust Indy Challenge at the...
VISION RACING TRAVELS TO RICHMOND LOOKING TO BUILD OFF RECENT SUCCESS
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 21, 2006) -- After a much deserved week away from racing, the IndyCar Series returns to action for the SunTrust Indy Challenge at the ever-challenging Richmond International Raceway this Saturday evening, and Vision Racing looks to extend their recent success by landing in the top-10 for the third race in a row.
Ed Carpenter, driver of the Vision Racing #20 Dallara/Honda/Firestone, has played a major part in that recent success throughout the last few races. After getting off to a rough start to the season and having to miss the first two races due to a crash prior to the season-opener at Homestead, Carpenter has rebounded nicely and has put together some of the best performances of his young IndyCar career.
At Indianapolis, Carpenter ran as high as eighth and finished strong in the 11th position for the second year in row. A week later at Watkins Glen, Carpenter overcame his inexperience on road courses, as well as inclement weather to finish a career-best and team-high in the sixth spot. The following week at Texas, Carpenter again put in a solid performance to complete back-to-back top-10s and finish the race in ninth place.
Carpenter noted, "I think that our strong runs have just been building my confidence as well as the team's confidence. As we gain some consistency, it is also increasing our own expectations. I just want to keep it going and continue to improve each week."
Fortunately for Carpenter, Richmond International Raceway is the perfect place to continue his streak. The bullring style, 0.75-mile oval is the smallest track on the IndyCar Series circuit and the setup matches Carpenter's style well. Growing up on America's short tracks, racing midgets, sprint cars and Silver Crown cars as a part of the United States Auto Club (USAC), Carpenter thrives on the physical demand that short track racing produces.
"It is very physically demanding racing at Richmond, not only on the driver, but also on the car," Carpenter said. "I think that we will be strong there this year. This is our first short track of the season, and I am looking forward to it, and racing under the lights again."
While Carpenter only has two IndyCar Series starts at Richmond, both of which he finished in the 16th spot, this will not be just the third time he's piloted a car there. In 2002 and 2003, Carpenter drove a Silver Crown car at Richmond, with impressive second and third place finishes. In addition, in his first start in an IndyCar at Richmond, he ran as high as fifth before being taken out late in the race.
Look for Carpenter to make a run at a career-day at Richmond as he returns to the track with a strong Vision Racing team, the reliable Honda engine and momentum on his side.
Carpenter's teammate, Tomas Scheckter, is also coming off back-to-back top-10s with two 10th place finishes at Watkins Glen and Texas. Scheckter's performance at Texas also saw the team's best qualifying effort as he started from the fifth position in that race. Like his teammate, Scheckter knows that momentum is on his side as he heads to Richmond and he's eager to build upon his recent results.
"I am happy with where we are at, but I am always hungry for better results," Scheckter noted. "While top-10's are nice, I want more and I will continue to work hard with the team to see that we do even better this year."
Competing in his fifth IndyCar Series season, Scheckter has accumulated two wins and eight poles, but has yet to conquer the short-track at Richmond. In his four starts at the track, Scheckter has finished fourth, two different times; the first time occurring in his first attempt at the track in 2002 with Cheever Racing and most recently just this past season with Panther Racing. His best start is fifth in 2004, also with Panther Racing, and his average finish at the track is 10.8.
Scheckter knows what it takes to run up-front at Richmond and he's certain that he can do it again this year in the Vision Racing #2 Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine. He said, "Consistency is key at Richmond. I finished fourth in Richmond last year and in 2002, but hopefully I will do better than fourth this year. I like the track at Richmond and the racing it produces, so I'm eager to return to the track. Richmond is good for close side by side racing, and it's very physical. I believe I have been successful because I don't fade late in the race. Some people tend to fade at Richmond due to the physical demand."
Both Scheckter and Carpenter are up to Richmond's tall demands and look to go the distance on Saturday night to make it three top-10 finishes in a row as the 250-lap, 187.5-mile SunTrust Indy Challenge gets started under the lights at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, June 24th. The race will air at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.