VISION RACING LOOKS TO CONTINUE ROAD RACING PROGRESS Gaining Experience on Road Course is Still the Top Priority for Vision Racing, but a Strong Finish Isn't Out of the Question INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 20, 2005) -- After competing in two ...
VISION RACING LOOKS TO CONTINUE ROAD RACING PROGRESS
Gaining Experience on Road Course is Still the Top Priority for Vision Racing, but a Strong Finish Isn't Out of the Question
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 20, 2005) -- After competing in two previous road racing venues thus far during the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season, Vision Racing and driver, Ed Carpenter like their chances heading into the third and final road race. The Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage, held at the historic Watkins Glen International Raceway, provides the team with the opportunity to score their best road racing finish this season and in the team's short history.
Vision Racing's road racing debut didn't turn out as well as they could have hoped as Carpenter suffered an accident on lap 32 and finished 19th in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. However, the team rebounded well in their second road course appearance last month for the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway.
Starting in 20th, Carpenter worked his way up in position and finished in a respectable 15th place. That race Carpenter fell victim to an early spin, putting him two laps behind the leaders, but was then able to gain his composure and set his fastest laps of the weekend late in the race.
Carpenter said, "I think that it (road racing) is starting to come more natural for me than it did at St. Pete. I still have a long way to go, but I am getting more comfortable. We tested last week at the Glen, so I am confident going into this race."
Road course racing and testing has been crucial for the young team so Carpenter and crew have been doing their homework since leaving the streets of St. Petersburg. In addition to the races at St. Petersburg and Infineon Raceway, Vision Racing participated in the road course tests at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen, and hired road course racing veteran, Roberto Moreno, to help set-up the racecar. In addition Carpenter competed in the Liberty Challenge, a Menards Infiniti Pro Series road course event held in conjunction with the Formula One United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in June.
Since Watkins Glen marks the third IndyCar Series road race for both Vision Racing and Carpenter, gaining experience will again be the top priority. Yet, a strong finish is possible given the team's preparation and most recent road course experience.
"The key for me still is to run all the laps, gain more road racing experience, and learn as much as possible," Carpenter commented. "I hope to have a strong finish, but I am just looking to get better at road racing. It seems like the more laps I do the better it gets, so I am looking forward to running another complete race."
Completing this race would place the team in a position to finish four races in a row, a feat they've already accomplished once so far in their debut season. Vision Racing has excelled at reliability and consistency this year, allowing them to set a strong precedent for a first-year team after finishing nine of 15 races so far.
"The team has done an excellent job all season with their car preparation," Carpenter noted. "I have finished more races this year than I did in my rookie year, and part of that is due to the team's preparation. The consistency that we have had has made our growing pains a lot less."
Carpenter went on to praise his team on just how impressive their first season has been. "If we would have struggled to finish races on a weekly basis in our team's rookie year, it would have been a very long an hard year," he said. "As it worked out we are consistent, we have great reliability. We just need to work on a few areas to increase our performance for next year, and we will be a very competitive team."
Speaking of next season, with this being the first of the last two races in 2005, the team can't help but look forward to the off-season and their plans to make next season even better. However, their eagerness to look ahead isn't in done in vain. Notching two strong runs this weekend at Watkins Glen and at California are the first two items on the check list with regard to a productive off-season.
"We have two races left to finish evaluating where we are as a team to figure out what changes if any we think we might want to make over the off season," Carpenter said. "We are just continuing to grow and learn as a team. We want to have momentum on our side at the end of the season. We are working on things for next year, and it always makes your off-season better when you end on a strong note."