THE BRICKYARD TO THE GLEN, VISION RACING HEADS EAST FOR THE TWISTS AND TURNS OF WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 31, 2006) -- Maturing significantly during the month of May, Vision Racing showed much promise as all three of ...
THE BRICKYARD TO THE GLEN, VISION RACING HEADS EAST FOR THE TWISTS AND TURNS OF WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 31, 2006) -- Maturing significantly during the month of May, Vision Racing showed much promise as all three of the team's cars qualified in the top 15 and ran in the top 10 for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500. Ed Carpenter had the team's only finish in the race; going the distance to match his 2005 finish of 11th place. Teammate Tomas Scheckter had his strong run dashed early while Townsend Bell, the team's third entry for Indianapolis, was forced to retire late in the race.
The last month has seen Vision Racing as competitive as the team has ever been in its short history, thus giving them a new focus heading into the rest of the season. Knowing their potential and capability, the team has some unfinished business in the IndyCar Series and up first is the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix at the historic road course at Watkins Glen International.
Carpenter will again take to the Glen in the Vision Racing #20 Dallara/Honda/Firestone where he started in the 20th spot last year and worked his way up to 14th to finish the race. Carpenter actually only has three road course races in an IndyCar under his belt as the Series first went road and street racing last season on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International. Currently 19th in the championship points standings, he had to miss the first street course race of the 2006 IndyCar Series season at St. Petersburg due to an accident in open practice prior to the season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
In spite of his limited experience on road and street courses, Carpenter has shown vast improvement with each outing and he's eager to get back to the challenging right and left turns now that he has the benefits of a Honda engine and an ever-improving team.
"I'm still not a road racer by any means, but I was actually picking it up quite a bit at Watkins Glen last year and I was able to run some good lap times," Carpenter recalled. "I'm excited about it and I'm excited to finish a race again. The start of this season has been a nightmare so to go to Indy and make it the distance and finish 11th is good. Now I just want to keep that momentum going at Watkins Glen and I think we have the resources to do that."
Carpenter's teammate and new addition to Vision Racing this year, Scheckter, will pilot the #2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone around the 2.45-mile road course.
Racing at Watkins Glen International for the first time in 2005 for Panther Racing, Scheckter started 10th, but a mechanical failure ended his race early and left him in 20th position. In Scheckter's drive on the Streets of St. Petersburg earlier in the season, he ran as high as the second position and was in fourth place when he made contact with Buddy Rice with just three laps remaining in that race.
Most recently, Scheckter ran as high as the fourth position in the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 and he mixed it up in the top six for much of his race until he went low in turn four on lap 67 and spun out, striking the turn four wall and attenuator on pit lane. He hopes to rebound well from that incident, break into the top five again this Sunday and improve his 14th place championship point standing.
He said, "We had a great car at Indy and it's a shame the way things ended as they did, but the team has really come along at Indy and we've become more competitive than I thought we would this early. We had a good car at St. Pete too so I think we'll be strong at Watkins Glen. The crew has been working tirelessly for over a month and I know that they'll be ready this weekend. I'm ready to get back in the car and get a good finish."
Carpenter and Scheckter will try and drive both Vision Racing machines to the checkered flag for the first time. The team has never finished both cars in a race featuring multiple entries, a trend that they intend to change this weekend.
Carpenter noted, "We've shown a lot of promise so far this season, but we've also had our share of tough times. Now we just need to focus on the things we are doing well and keep progressing like we have. With the good run we had their last year and the improvements we've made this year, I'm optimistic that we can go there and do well as a team."