VISION RACING IS TAKING IT TO THE STREETS FOR THE HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 30, 2006) -- Vision Racing driver Tomas Scheckter recorded a ninth place finish and the team's highest finish ever in the Indy Racing...
VISION RACING IS TAKING IT TO THE STREETS FOR THE HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 30, 2006) -- Vision Racing driver Tomas Scheckter recorded a ninth place finish and the team's highest finish ever in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season-opener and now he and the team look to build off of that success as they take to the Streets of St. Petersburg for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The weekend before in the Indy Toyota 300 at Homestead Miami Speedway, Scheckter earned the second top 10 finish for the team. Vision Racing's previous best finish was a 10th place finish by driver Ed Carpenter at Nashville Superspeedway, last season.
"I am happy to have got the best finish for Vision, although I was personally disappointed with my results," Scheckter said. "This shows what a long way Vision has come in a fairly short period of time. All three owners: Tony, Laura (George) and Patrick (Dempsey) wanted better results and I am glad we are moving in that direction. Hopefully soon we can put a Vision car in victory lane."
Scheckter's teammate and second year Vision Racing driver, Carpenter, did not start the first race for the team due to a crash endured on race day during open practice. IRL Medical Director, Dr. Henry Bock, has sidelined Carpenter for this weekend's race, but the #20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone will take the green flag for the first time this season.
Veteran driver, Roberto Moreno will fill in for Carpenter in the #20 car, which is a seat Moreno has sat in before. Moreno has joined Vision Racing on occasion in the past, including last spring, when he assisted the team as Carpenter's road course coach at Infineon Raceway for a test. Moreno filled in for the team this past week at Homestead-Miami Speedway for a road course test as well.
Known as the "Super Sub" for his many appearances as a substitute driver in his racing career, Moreno is a native of Brazil and resides in Weston, Fla. The 47-year-old Brazilian has competed for numerous championships in his racing career, battling in anything from open-wheel machines to sports car prototypes. His first major league fill-in appearance came in 1985, when he spelled Pancho Carter in five Champ Car road course races. He's also served as a fill-in in Formula One, with successful runs with the AGS team in 1987 and Benetton in 1990, and in CART for Newman/Haas and PacWest.
Moreno said, "I'm very glad that Larry (Curry), Tony, Laura, and Ed were all behind me to get in the car and drive for them. It is an honor for me to do that. It is very tough to replace a driver and it is very difficult to just jump in a car and drive. I was glad to be able to get in the car a little bit already this week. Plus, road racing is what I know so I hope to get the car up to speed quickly this weekend and get good results. While I know road course racing, I'm not as confident about the car, but the team will give me the info that I need to be competitive and comfortable in the car."
In spite of Carpenter's absence in the initial race of the season, his time in the car along-side Scheckter have been productive for the entire team. Completing two pre-season tests and nearly an entire race weekend together, Scheckter and Carpenter have worked well as a new two-car team thus far. Their sharing of data allowed Scheckter to run a strong race and finish in ninth place. His solid run earned him 22 championship points and provides a great deal of momentum for the team heading into round two of the IndyCar Series Schedule, the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
He said, "I am looking forward to St. Pete. We have been working a bit on getting our street set up better. I love the Streets of St. Petersburg and the entire event they hold there. I hope again for a good result this season, to put some more points on the board and continue to work well with the team."
However, Scheckter is eager to have his teammate back to work as well. He said, "Working with Ed is good. We understand and communicate well together. We are becoming closer as friends which is helping us in communicating what we want in the car. While I'm happy to have a teammate for this race in Roberto, I'm also ready to have Ed back in the car so that we can continue the team's progress."
Carpenter said, "I haven't given up on driving the car this weekend. I still have some evaluations to do and I still want to drive, but ultimately it is up to Dr. Bock and his staff. I want to get back in the car as soon as possible. I definitely will be back in the car a week from today for the test at Indy."
Regardless of who is behind the wheel for Vision Racing, each driver along with the veteran crew are determined to position themselves at the front of the field and continue the progress already made in this young season.