Two in the Top Ten for Red Bull Cheever on the Streets of St. Pete St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 3, 2005) -- Red Bull Cheever Racing drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron both finished in the top ten at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Two in the Top Ten for Red Bull Cheever on the Streets of St. Pete
St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 3, 2005) -- Red Bull Cheever Racing drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron both finished in the top ten at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Carpentier placed eighth, his third top-ten finish in three races, and Alex Barron placed tenth, his second top-ten finish this season.
The race started with a right-hand turn into turn one, in what was the IRL IndyCar Series' first ever street course event.
Patrick Carpentier, started the race in 14th place in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota. The team's strategy had him pit early in the race during the first yellow caution period on lap 16 of the 100-lap race. Working to save fuel he was able to run lean on fuel to pit again on lap 62 for a two pit stop race for the No. 83 team.
During the final restart of the race, after the yellow caution period from laps 87 to 90, Carpentier had a close call in turn four the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course.
"Buddy Rice was working to pass me but he came in too hot," Carpentier said. "He hit me in the side pod and spun me around. I slid through turn five backwards. I was able to to spin it around and keep going but I lost a lot of time and some positions."
But Carpentier recovered with a vengeance. He came back from the spin and passed Darren Manning on lap 99 to take the checkered flag in eighth place.
"I saved too much of the car during the race," Carpentier said. "I didn't expect the brakes and the tires to last as long they did. The car was really good at the end. We ran with the leaders consistently for the first time this year. It was a good show."
The crew of the No. 51 car had Alex Barron on a different fuel strategy with his first stop happening on lap 39. He ran in the top five before his first pit stop, but ran into problems when the fuel probe malfunctioned leaving him in the pits for 30 seconds. Barron pit again on lap 59, then once more on lap 92 before taking the checkered flag in tenth place.
"Driving the track was really a lot of fun but we didn't have the speed to run with the leaders," Barron said. "Late in the race we had run under a lot of yellows so the tires were cold and had picked up a lot of rubber and ruble off the streets. When I tried to rub some of that off I made contact with the wall and had to make an unscheduled pit stop to get a new front wing with less than ten laps to go."
Owner Eddie Cheever Jr. was pleased with both cars finishing in the top ten and with the team taking ninth and tenth in the series point standings. As one of only two team owners that has been with the Indy Racing League since the beginning of the series, Cheever spoke well of this weekend's street race.
"I thought it was a phenomenal weekend," Cheever said. "We should do more of these races. It was a great event with a lot of excitement and fanfare. All the Red Bull guests here had a great time and we look forward to returning next year."
Round four of the 17-race 2005 IRL IndyCar Series is the Indy Japan 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi on Saturday, April 30.