Kentucky: Panther Racing preview

Panther Tandem of Wheldon, Carpenter Riding High into Kentucky National Guard, Fuzzy& ...

Panther Tandem of Wheldon, Carpenter Riding High into Kentucky
National Guard, Fuzzy’s Vodka Teams Both Led the Field Last Weekend at Chicagoland Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - (September 1, 2010) -- Both Panther Racing drivers Dan Wheldon and Ed Carpenter led last weekend's IZOD IndyCar Series event at Chicagoland Speedway, where Wheldon collected a runner-up finish, and now both open-wheel veterans are expecting better results this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Had it not been for a fueling issue during Carpenter's third pit stop last Saturday, many believe he would have been alongside his Panther teammate contending for the team's first race victory of 2010.

Wheldon matched his season-best finish of second place last weekend -- equal to his effort in the 94th Indianapolis 500 -- and enters this weekend 10th in the overall IZOD IndyCar Series point standings. Wheldon led a total of 14 laps last weekend and narrowly missed on his 16th-career IndyCar victory, as just 0.0423 of a second separated the National Guard driver from winner Dario Franchitti. Wheldon has made a total of seven starts at Kentucky, with two podium finishes, four Top Five and five Top Ten finishes. He has led a total of 176 laps at the Sparta, Kentucky oval.

Historically, Panther has performed well at Kentucky. The team captured a pole with Scott Goodyear in the first IZOD IndyCar Series event at the track in 2000, and finished on the podium in each of its first four starts on the 1.5-mile oval. Sam Hornish Jr. captured the team's only victory at the track in 2003, when he started from the pole, led 181 of 200 laps and lapped every car in the field except second-place finisher Scott Dixon. More recently, Vitor Meira started on the front row in 2008 and led five laps before finishing in the fourth position.

The No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka team tested at Kentucky Speedway two weeks ago and this weekend marks Carpenter's return to the site of his best career IndyCar Series finish. Last year with Vision Carpenter led the race five times for a total of 34 laps before finishing runner-up to Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe by just 0.0162 of a second. In his career, Carpenter has made six starts at Kentucky and has a total of four Top Ten finishes.

Panther has also collected two Firestone Indy Lights victories at Kentucky, one with current Newman/Haas driver Hideki Mutoh (2007) and the other with former driver Dillon Battistini (2008). The team does not currently compete in the developmental series.

Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda

"Obviously coming off our strong performance last week, myself in the National Guard car and Ed (Carpenter) in the Fuzzy's Vodka car, we're extremely excited for the weekend. We were very quick last year at Kentucky, and obviously Ed had a great finish, so combining that information and working together as a unit, which we do very well, will be great for the team. All the boys from Panther and Vision have come together very well and we're going to have very competitive racecars. The Kentucky track is one that bodes for great racing for the fans and it's challenging for the drivers. Turns one and two are bumpy on the high line, but Ed tested there a few weeks ago so we're confident that we're coming in this weekend with a great package."

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka

"I was happy to be back with Panther, Vision and Fuzzy's Vodka last weekend in Chicago. We had a great racecar, but unfortunately a different problem to Indy, but a similar issue with fuel. We're expecting good race here in Kentucky this weekend. It's special with this being the 200th IZOD IndyCar Series race, I remember the 100th race, so I'm starting to feel a little old. Last year at Kentucky was a big point in my career and my best finish, but I'm not trying to live in the past, I live in the now and I'm focused on this year. We had a good test there a couple weeks ago; the track might be a little more bumpy, but it didn't feel like it had changed much. The series is so competitive it's hard to think that because I was good here last year that I'll be good again, but as a team if we're able to work together and have a good car like we did at Indianapolis and Chicago, then we'll be good."

-source: panther racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Goodyear , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Briscoe , Hideki Mutoh , Dillon Battistini , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing