IRL: Texas: Chevy race report

Chevy Powers Barron to IRL Podium FORT WORTH, Texas, June 12, 2004 - Chevrolet gave Red Bull Cheever Racing driver Alex Barron wings tonight at Texas Motor Speedway as he posted his first podium finish of the season. Relegated to the back of...

Chevy Powers Barron to IRL Podium

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 12, 2004 - Chevrolet gave Red Bull Cheever Racing driver Alex Barron wings tonight at Texas Motor Speedway as he posted his first podium finish of the season. Relegated to the back of the grid by a gearbox problem in qualifying, Barron picked off cars on the track and in the pits. When the green flag flew on Lap 186 after the final caution period, Barron was fourth in the order. With 12 laps remaining, he moved to third and defended the inside line tenaciously to the finish.

"Overall we're really happy," said the delighted driver after scoring his best finish in 2004. "We came from dead last and the motor ran strong the whole race. There at the end we were able to turn it up and run with the lead pack.

"I was able to keep moving forward," he explained. "When I needed to be patient I was. The main thing was I wanted to finish. Chevrolet and Red Bull have been working really hard and I'm glad to give them their first podium."

Barron celebrated his 34th birthday yesterday, but his present from Chevrolet arrived today in the form of a potent and rock-solid reliable Chevy Indy V-8 engine.

"I think Chevrolet is doing a lot of things right now to point us in the right direction," Barron declared. "My teammate and I were quick throughout the weekend, so we knew we had the speed. We knew Chevy could do it, and we're working really hard beside them to do everything we can as a team. That's what it takes, teamwork. They're an established company and can make power. We've just got to keep working on it and move forward."

Felipe Giaffone finished ninth on the lead lap in the Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet Dallara to give Chevy its second Top-10 finisher on the high-banked Texas oval. Al Unser Jr. was 11th in his second start with Patrick Racing's Chevrolet Dallara

"Our guys did a great job," Giaffone said. "We had a little trouble with our restart gear, but we had good solid pit stops and just got the job done. The car was working better than a lot of other guys, but I just couldn't take chances out there. It's more conservative than I prefer to drive, but we ran 3-4 mph faster with the lead pack and I just had to focus on staying with the pack."

Misfortune sidelined three other Chevy drivers at TMS. Ed Carpenter and Mark Taylor had accidents on Lap 46 and Lap 125 respectively; neither was injured. Tomas Scheckter retired on lap 48 with a damaged suspension, the result of contact with another car while running three-wide.

Carpenter was credited with a 21st place finish in his Red Bull Cheever Racing Chevrolet Dallara after running strongly in the lead pack in the opening laps. An earlier encounter with another car contributed to his accident.

"Anthony Foyt got into the back of me and damaged the right rear of my car," Carpenter reported. "I didn't feel any vibrations, but we should have come in and checked things out. We could have saved ourselves a race car."

Englishman Mark Taylor found Texas Motor Speedway's high-banked turns to be his cup of tea. The IndyCar Series rookie moved into the top five on the 75th lap and was a frontrunner with Chevy power. He finished 17th in the Menards/Johns Manville Racing Chevrolet Dallara.

"I was behind Vitor and the back end stepped out on me, and I thought I could save the car," Taylor recalled. "There might have been some oil on the track from Scott Sharp's car. I just didn't have enough space to make a recovery and we wound up in the wall.

"It just seems like we can't buy a break this year," he conceded. "My Menards/Johns Manville car was just great. It was great in traffic, and the Chevy power had us running right up front. This team deserves a good finish after how hard they have worked this season. I'm going to do everything in my power at Richmond to make sure that happens."

"I'm very disappointed," said Scheckter. "Obviously, the Pennzoil Panther team and everyone at Chevrolet have been working very hard and they gave me a great race car. I guess it's just part of racing at Texas. I had a great restart and had a good run when we went three-wide with (Ed) Carpenter and (Scott) Dixon. Somebody hit my left front and it bent the suspension to where I couldn't drive the car any further so we pulled the Pennzoil car out of the race. We're all very disappointed right now. But I have to thank my team and the Chevy guys for a great car."

IRL teams will take on the challenging .75-mile bullring at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, June 26. The SunTrust Indy Challenge, the sixth round of the 16-race IndyCar Series, will be televised on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Alex Barron , Ed Carpenter