WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Red Bull Cheever Racing continued its road course success today at Watkins Glen International Raceway during the second day of action at the historic road course. Yesterday's rain and fog lifted for a crystal clear day during...
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Red Bull Cheever Racing continued its road course success today at Watkins Glen International Raceway during the second day of action at the historic road course. Yesterday's rain and fog lifted for a crystal clear day during a morning practice session and afternoon qualifying, which saw Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier make great strides in improving their times.
Qualifying again featured the league's road race format, which takes the top six cars making an attempt and puts them back on the track for a 10-minute shootout to determine the first three rows. As a result, it was the goal of all of the teams to be in this elite group.
Barron hit the track first, and turned in a lap of 1:33.4835 (129.777 mph), which had him sitting in the second position for quite some time. Then Carpentier took to the track and eclipsed his teammate with a time of 1:32.3557 (131.262 mph), which landed him in the top six. During the shootout, he turned up the heat and completed a lap of 1:30.7889 (133.629 mph). This time had him positioned on the front row, but he was bumped to third right before the checkered flag fell. This matches his best starting position of the season.
"I went out there and wasn't nervous at all. We had nothing to lose coming in. We were happy with sixth, so we just went for it. We knew our car was better in the long run, so it was a really fun ride. I have never done a lap like that in my life. For us, it was by far the fastest time we've accomplished here by more than a second and a half. During my top lap, I missed the apex of the last turn by about 10 feet, so I left a little bit out there. Other than that, I got everything I could out of the car. The team and Toyota did a great job giving me a great car for this weekend. Starting in the top three is fantastic. The race is going to be very competitive, but when you're starting up front, it's a whole different game. I'm definitely looking forward to it," Carpentier said.
Barron's result lands him in 13th on the starting grid. Overall, he was pleased with his effort.
"We're pretty happy with the time we ran. Usually, your second timed lap is the quickest, but they only give you one, so we gave it what we had. The wind changed on us on the back straight, but other than that, the track was pretty similar to practice this morning. I think we're going to see a shootout here tomorrow in the race, but if it rains, that changes everything. We seem to have a really strong race setup, so we have high hopes for tomorrow," Barron said.
The field is now set for tomorrow's Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix. The teams will return to the track tomorrow morning for one final practice session before the race begins at 3:30 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast live on ABC.