MEMORABLE START TURNS TO FORGETTABLE FINISH AT TEXAS FOR VISION RACING FT. WORTH, Texas -- For Vision Racing, the start of the Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway was exciting, impressive and memorable. Unfortunately, the seventh of...
MEMORABLE START TURNS TO FORGETTABLE FINISH AT TEXAS FOR VISION RACING
FT. WORTH, Texas -- For Vision Racing, the start of the Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway was exciting, impressive and memorable. Unfortunately, the seventh of 17 IndyCar Series events became a night to forget as all three team cars were caught up in incidents during the race. As a result, teammates Tomas Scheckter, A.J. Foyt IV and Ed Carpenter finished 14th, 17th and 18th on the evening.
When the green flag dropped, Scheckter was ninth, Foyt 17th, and Carpenter was running at the back of the field in 20th as a result of switching to a backup No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools special. The change to a different car followed qualifying the night before. Carpenter actually qualified 16th for the race, but was unhappy with his initial car all weekend which prompted the late change.
By lap seven, Scheckter had put the No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone all the way in the fifth spot, Foyt was 13th in the No. 22 machine and Carpenter was up to 14th. And by the time their first round of pit stops was completed after lap 46, the trio took spots nine through 10 and Carpenter had recorded the fastest lap of the race to that point.
Unfortunately from there, things began to deteriorate. On lap 87, Scheckter was again in the fifth spot, but contact received by Marco Andretti sent him sliding down the front stretch and the infield before coming to rest at pit-out.
The incident put Scheckter out for nearly 30 laps, but his crew was able to fix his car and get it back out on lap 117 where he resumed from the 19th spot. Scheckter did finish the race and moved into 14th position where he was 29 laps down from the leaders.
For Scheckter, the running finish does allow him to bounce back from a broken drive shaft suffered at Milwaukee last weekend, but also drops him three spots in the IndyCar Series points championship to the 10th position.
As the race continued, Foyt and Carpenter drove consistently in the 11th and 12th positions and even as high as ninth and eighth, respectively, until one of Foyt's tires came loose on the backstretch on lap 197 and cause an incident involving six cars, including his and Carpenter's.
The accident ultimately snapped any chance of Vision Racing being able to continue a season-long streak of top-10 finishes. Both Foyt and Carpenter were out of the race. In addition, Carpenter dropped a point in the standings to 13th while Foyt lost two spots and is now 16th in points.
The team will cut its losses, pack up and head to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for testing this week, and then it is off to the new Iowa Speedway for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. The 250-lap, 218.75-mile event will air live on Sunday June 24th, at 1 p.m. (EDT) on ABC Sports, IMS Radio Network, XM Satellite Radio channel 145 and on the web at www.IndyCar.com.
Tomas Scheckter -- No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"It's pretty obvious what happened after you see the replay. The guy (Marco Andretti) just swerved into me. He's done it before. He tries to swerve into people and the unfortunate thing is that Marco is my friend. He's a good friend of mine and obviously we are in the heat of the battle out there and he sees his teammates up there and obviously he needs to have a good race and it was probably just a little upsetting seeing a Vision car ahead of him. We went side-by-side for a little bit and you know, he caught up to me so he really should have been trying to push me ahead. I let enough people go by and he must have got irritated and swerved into me. It's just obvious to me what happened. It's unfortunate that it happened, but we are very lucky that nobody got hurt."
"Well, it's still very unfortunate what happened with us and Marco. We were running so well up to that point and I hate that we got together like that. But I was glad nobody was hurt and that we could fix the car because it paid off. Of course, I didn't want to see my teammates get knocked out either because they were doing well, but it was that accident that helped us move up a few spots. So I've got to thank my crew for working hard and getting me back out there, but as a team, we've all got to work hard to make sure our next race is much better."
Ed Carpenter -- No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"I see my teammate, A.J. Foyt's tire rolling off the track, but I saw it before the yellow started slowing down. A.J. is sideways in the middle of the track and (Scott) Dixon comes flying by me and runs into me. I drive away from that and then (Dan) Wheldon decides he is going to run right up the back of me. I mean I don't know if the guys are so fast or if they don't have brakes. But you know, we're professionals and this is not "Days of Thunder." You don't drive through accidents and you drive off the nose of your car. You have to look where you are going. It's inexcusable to get run over by someone after you've slowed down for an accident." -credit: vr