Kentucky: Vision Racing preview

Vision Racing Fast Facts: * TAKING THE VISION TO KENTUCKY: The Meijer Indy 300 will be the fourth trip to the 1.5-mile oval at Kentucky Speedway for Vision Racing and fifth visit for drivers Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV. Last year Foyt...

Vision Racing Fast Facts:

* TAKING THE VISION TO KENTUCKY: The Meijer Indy 300 will be the fourth trip to the 1.5-mile oval at Kentucky Speedway for Vision Racing and fifth visit for drivers Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV. Last year Foyt led 13 laps in a Vision Racing machine and finished a career-best third. That also matched the team's highest finish to date. In addition, all three Vision team entries finished in the top-10 at Kentucky.

* KENTUCKY HOMECOMINGS: Vision Racing driver A.J. Foyt IV will return to his birth state of Kentucky this weekend to repeat his podium finish there last season. As a child Foyt trained to become a jockey but a move to Texas and a growth spurt took him from horseback to cockpit, but eventually returned him to Kentucky and the site of his best IndyCar Series finish to date: third place in 2007. Louisville, Kentucky native, Lilly CEO and Vision/Foyt sponsor, John Lechleiter will be attending his "home" IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway to the see Foyt and the No. 2 Lilly/Diabetes machine in action as well as to see first-hand just how Lilly Diabetes information is positively affecting race fans thanks to the Vision Racing Wellness Tour.

* McDONALD'S MURAL: Sparta, Kentucky is not only home to the Kentucky Speedway, but a new McDonald's restaurant as well and of course, racing themed decor will grace the walls including an original piece by artist Ardy Arani. In his commissioned mural, Arani's depicts Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter's No.20 Menards car alongside Newman Haas Lanigan Racing driver Justin Wilson's No.02 McDonald's Indy car. The public unveiling will be held this Thursday, August 7th at 5:00 pm ET, as both drivers will be in attendance interacting with media, fans and patrons at the Sparta, Kentucky location.

* STRONG DEBUT AT EDMONTON: At the inaugural IndyCar Series REXALL Edmonton Indy in Edmonton, Canada. Vision Racing driver and Canadian Paul Tracy made a pass on the ailing car of Oriol Servia just a few feet before the checkered flag to take a fourth place finish. Battling the odds, the Canadian fan favorite worked his way from a 15th place starting spot on the grid in the No.22 Subway / Vision Racing machine, to run with the leaders, and narrowly missed out on a podium finish in his first outing for the Vision team in a collaborative one-race effort with Walker Racing. Fellow team drivers A.J. Foyt IV and Ed Carpenter finished 12th and 13th respectively.

* TRACY DELIVERS: In his debut for Vision Racing, it wasn't fresh sub sandwiches that Canadian driver Paul Tracy delivered in his No. 22 Subway/Vision Racing machine, but a fourth place finish at the REXALL Edmonton Indy in Edmonton, Canada. The top-five drive marked the team's new best road/street course finish since its inception in 2005.

* 4th SEASON: Vision Racing is maintaining a two-car operation for the 2008 season, returning drivers Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV. They also welcomed back Davey Hamilton for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 and hired veteran Paul Tracy for the Rexall Edmonton Indy affair at Edmonton. The Meijer Indy 300 will be the team's 62nd IndyCar Series event since their first season in 2005.

* ON OVALS AND SUPERSPEEDWAYS: The team's best finish on an oval is third scored by Tomas Scheckter at The Milwaukee Mile in 2006 and again last season by A.J. Foyt IV at Kentucky Speedway. Those also equal the team's highest finishes to date. Foyt's third place finish also marks his career best finish in the IndyCar Series. This season the team's best oval finish is fifth by Ed Carpenter (Homestead and Indianapolis) and Foyt (Iowa).

* 2008 TEAM HIGHLIGHTS: After 13 races, team drivers Carpenter, Foyt and Tracy have combined to give Vision Racing four top-five finishes and six additional top-10 finishes. The team's best finish this season is fourth scored by Tracy. Carpenter (Homestead and Indianapolis) and Foyt (Iowa) have each logged fifth place finishes as well. The team's best starting position for 2008 is fifth at Kansas by Foyt while Carpenter's best start also came at Kansas in the sixth spot.

* SIGHTS SET ON GOOD HEALTH: In May the team announced the launch of the Vision Racing Wellness Tour which will allow race fans to receive free cholesterol screenings and diabetes education at IndyCar Series events nationwide. Lilly -- a worldwide leader in diabetes treatment, research and education based in Indianapolis,-- will be providing the diabetes education component of the Wellness Tour, while team partner Polymer Technology Systems, Inc. will provide its revolutionary CardioChek® home cholesterol test system to complete the cholesterol screening. The Vision Racing Wellness Tour will featured at the Meijer Indy 300, and will be offering free cholesterol screenings and diabetes for fans in the IndyCar merchandise tent (Indy Fan Zone Area in the midway behind the main grandstand) from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Aug. 9. In addition, Vision Racing team drivers Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV as well as Lilly executives will be at the Wellness Tour location starting at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday for media interviews and autographs for those fans being screened.

* LILLY CEO IN ATTENDANCE: Louisville, Kentucky native and Lilly CEO, John Lechleiter will be attending his "home" IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway to the see the No. 2 Lilly/Diabetes machine in action as well as to see first-hand, just how Lilly Diabetes information is positively affecting race fans thanks to the Vision Racing Wellness Tour.

* NEW AND OLD FOR 2008: New sponsors Menards and DIRECTV joined returning sponsor CardioChek to grace the No. 20 machine driven by Ed Carpenter for the 2008 season. The Menards sponsorship also brings the likes of Johns Manville, Energizer, Moen, Peak Antifreeze, Pittsburgh Paints, Sylvania, SuperClean and Quaker State. Continuing the new sponsor lineup on the No. 20 are MUUD Coffee and NÜSSLI Group. Starting at Indianapolis, Lilly Diabetes joined the team on the No. 2 car piloted by A.J. Foyt IV for the balance of the season. This season the team has also undergone some personnel changes. Former crew chief, Keven Kukulewicz was appointed to the team manager in May. In addition, returning engineers Nathan O'Rourke and Al Bodey have been joined by newcomer and lead race engineer, Jeff Britton. Overseeing the race strategy for Carpenter will be Britton and Foyt will be directed by team owner Tony George while Britton will be lead engineer on Carpenter's car and Foyt will take technical direction from O'Rourke. Starting at Mid-Ohio, IndyCar Series veteran and winner Bryan Herta will serve as a road-course consultant for the team for the remainder of the season. At Edmonton, Canadian driver Paul Tracy joined the team in the team's No. 22 machine, sponsored by Subway.

* AS SEEN ON TV: Patrick Dempsey joined Vision Racing prior to the 2006 season, taking on a new role that has been making hearts race in a literal way as a team co-owner. Known for his scene-stealing turns in such '80s nostalgia classics such as Can't Buy Me Love and Loverboy, Patrick Dempsey continues to please America with his explosive charisma and versatile talent. Dempsey is the star of the ABC drama "Grey's Anatomy." Dempsey's no stranger to the racetrack when he's not in front of the camera. A true racer at heart, he's currently driving professionally in "Grand American Cup" class sports car racing with Hypersport. Patrick also attended the Skip Barber and Panoz Racing Schools and began racing in the Panoz GT Series in 2004. Dempsey finished an impressive third at the Panoz GT race in Road Atlanta in early May 2005.He also competed in the April 2005 Toyota Celebrity Race at Long Beach and the 2005 Baja 1000 with drivers Boris Said and Oriol Servia.

* A TEAM WITH A VISION: Vision Racing is owned and operated by Tony and Laura George as well as actor Patrick Dempsey of ABC's Grey's Anatomy and is based in Indianapolis, Indiana in a 32,000 square foot facility. The team competes full-time in the 16-race IndyCar Series schedule, and competed in the Rolex 24-Hour endurance race in Daytona, Florida for the second time. Entering its fourth season of IndyCar Series competition the team features returning drivers Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV for 2008. Vision Racing continues to proudly perpetuate the legacy of the Hulman-George family through motorsports excellence, by demonstrating the traditions and heritage of the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Racing.

A.J. Foyt IV -- No. 2 Lilly Diabetes/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

Led 13 laps and finished career-best third at Kentucky last season.
Vying for fourth top-10 finish this season.

* AT KENTUCKY: Last year at Kentucky, Foyt earned his best career finish in the IndyCar Series, as well as matched the team's highest finish of third. Foyt, who started behind his teammates in 10th, put on an impressive drive leading a total of 13 laps in the race. As the green flag fell after a long yellow on lap 190, Foyt found himself in the lead with just 10 laps to go and finished in the third spot. Foyt IV has three other starts at Kentucky with a best finish of 9th coming in 2005 when he started 12th. He has been running at the finish in all four attempts there including in 2004 when he started 15th and ended up 18th, and in 2003 when he started 19th and finished 17th.

* MOST RECENTLY: Foyt picked up three more leader laps in his debut at Edmonton. Foyt improved steadily all weekend at Edmonton and had a very strong race moving from his 17th place starting position, to lead a total three laps a third of the way through the event, for a 12th place running finish. He also moved back up in the point standings; gaining a point and taking the 18th spot.

* 2008 SEASON: This is the sixth season of participation in the IndyCar Series competition for Foyt and is actually his fifth full season as he only participated in one race in 2006. After 13 races, Foyt has a best finish of 5th at Iowa and two other top-10 drives. His best start this year is fifth at Kansas. He's been running at the finish in nine events. He is currently 18th in the point standings after improving one spot following the race at Edmonton.

* NEW SPONSOR: In May, Eli Lilly & Co. announced that it will become a strategic partner in the team's recently announced Vision Racing Wellness Tour, which is bringing free cholesterol screening and diabetes education to IndyCar Series fans for the remainder of the season, as well as the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition, the uniform of team driver A.J. Foyt IV and his No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine will display the branding of Lilly, including Lilly Diabetes.

* FIRST LEADER LAPS: In his only IndyCar Series start in 2006 with Andretti-Green Racing at Chicagoland Speedway, Foyt led his first race for three laps and ended up finishing in the 12th spot. He added 13 leader laps to his IndyCar Series career tally at Kentucky Speedway last season where he also finished a career-high third.

* FROM CREW TO DRIVER: Despite his famous name, Foyt earned his way up the racing ladder. His first job was working at the race shop as a parts washer and he served on the crew and changed right-front tire for A.J. Foyt Racing IndyCar Series driver Airton Dare during 2002 season.

* INDY'S YOUNGEST: Foyt is the youngest driver to race in the Indianapolis 500. His rookie attempt at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing occurred on his 19th birthday, May 25, 2003. Prior to moving to the IndyCar Series, Foyt won Firestone Indy Lights Championship in 2002 with four wins in seven events.

* INDY LIGHTS CHAMPION: Foyt also won the inaugural Firestone Indy Lights title in 2002 before stepping up to the IndyCar Series the following season as an 18-year-old.

* DID YOU KNOW?: A.J. Foyt IV appeared in the 2005 Warner Brothers movie release, The Dukes of Hazzard, which also starred Jessica Simpson, Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Burt Reynolds and Willie Nelson.

* A.J. AT-A-GLANCE: Joining Vision Racing in 2007, A.J. Foyt IV is entering his fifth full IndyCar Series season and will participate in his sixth season overall. His first full season came in 2003 after driving for grandfather and legendary driver, A.J. Foyt. He drove for Foyt Enterprises from 2003 to 2005. In 2006 he drove in the season finale for Andretti Green Racing in place of the injured, Dario Franchitti.

Ed Carpenter -- No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

Aiming for seventh top-10 finish of the season.
Finished seventh at Kentucky in 2007.

* AT KENTUCKY: Carpenter has four previous attempts at Kentucky Speedway, with a best finish of seventh coming last season after charging from the back of the field after a stalled engine on his first pit stop. In his debut at Kentucky Speedway in 2004, Carpenter started in 14th and finished in the eighth spot in his rookie season with Cheever Racing. In 2005 he started in the 21st spot with Vision Racing, but a mechanical failure sent him into the wall and took him out early; leaving him in the 22nd position. In 2006 Carpenter started eighth and charged up to fifth before spinning in the pit exit lane after his first pit stop. He finished in 11th. He will be looking for his third top-10 finish at the track and his seventh just this season on Saturday night.

* MOST RECENTLY: In his first appearance at Edmonton, Carpenter started from the 23rd position and posted his best finish of the season on a road/street course crossing the finish line in 13th place despite taking the start with an ill handling machine. Unfortunately he dropped one more spot in the championship standings where he's currently ranked 13th.

* 2008 SEASON: This is the fifth full season in IndyCar Series competition for Carpenter and the sixth season that he has participated in overall. After 13 races, Carpenter has a best finish of fifth at Homestead and Indianapolis and four other top-10 drives. His best start this year is sixth at Kansas. He's been running at the finish in 11 events. He is currently 13th in the point standings after dropping one spot following the race at Edmonton.

* FIRST LEADER LAPS: In his fifth IndyCar Series start in at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500, Carpenter recorded his first laps lead in an Indy car. He lead the field for three laps under caution and finished fifth.

* BACK WITH MENARDS: The team's expanded sponsorship portfolio for the 2008 IndyCar Series season included the addition of Menards as the primary sponsor of the No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, driven by Ed Carpenter. Not only does this mark the return of the recognizable Menards sponsorship in the IndyCar Series, but also reunites the home store retailer with Carpenter. The 27-year-old driver carried the Menards livery in 2002, with Sinden Racing in the Indy Pro Series.

* ED "CARPENTER": Carpenter and his arsenal of power tools have been busy this past off-season as he has been knee deep in a house flipping project with a long time friend. Of course, Menards has been an essential part of Carpenter's home repair ventures. Prior to his current real estate investment, Carpenter and his "do-it-yourself" mentality crafted his home repair skills with his first home and family heirloom. The home, which he still owns, is located in Speedway, Ind. was purchased as new in 1955 by stepfather Tony George's parents, Elmer and Mari George. Tony grew up in the home as a boy and for a time, drivers A.J. Foyt and Roger McCluskey lived in the basement.

* DOUBLE DUTY: Ed Carpenter Made history in September 2003 at Chicagoland Speedway when he became the first driver to compete in a Firestone Indy Lights event and an IndyCar Series event on the same weekend.

* INAGURAL BRICKYARD WINNER: Carpenter won the inaugural Firestone Indy Lights Firestone Freedom 100 in 2003 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Making him an inaugural winner at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway along with Ray Haroun (Indianapolis 500), Jeff Gordon (Brickyard 400), and Michael Schumacher (United States Grand Prix).

* BIG MAN ON CAMPUS: Carpenter graduated from 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament qualifying Butler University, Indianapolis, Ind., with a marketing degree in May 2003.

* BIG DADDY: Carpenter and wife Heather (Pettigrew) celebrated the birth of their first child (Makenna) in October of 2007. The couple were married November 8, 2005 on the island of St. Thomas.

* DID YOU KNOW?: Carpenter enjoys water skiing, snowboarding, and cycling , his racing heroes include Al Unser Jr., A.J. Foyt, and Lance Armstrong and he has two dogs; a Rottweiller named Bentley and a Chihuahua named Rosco.

* ED AT-A-GLANCE: Carpenter is participating in his fifth season in the IndyCar Series, and is with his second team in Vision Racing. The 27-year-old made his IndyCar debut at Chicagoland Speedway in 2003 for PDM Racing, which made him the first driver to compete in an IRL Indy Pro Series event and an IndyCar Series event on the same weekend. Carpenter, who has been with the team since it's inception in 2005, is determined to make his fifth season overall, the best for both he and the team. Last year Carpenter recorded six top-10 finishes.

o Highest Career Start: 4th -- Michigan International Speedway, 2006/Vision Racing

o Highest Career Finish: 5th -- Chicagoland Speedway, 2006/Vision Racing

The Driver's Thoughts On/About...

A.J. FOYT IV -- NO. 2 Lilly Diabetes/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

On race at Kentucky... "Kentucky was kind to us last year so I'm excited about going back. I was born in Kentucky and spent the first part of my life there so it is always good to go back. I've been looking forward to this race for a while and I hope that everything comes together for the Lilly team on Saturday night. We've shown that we can put a good race car on track at these 1.5-mile ovals already this season so I know that we can do it again at Kentucky and have a great race."

ED CARPENTER -- NO. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

On race at Kentucky ... "The team did well at Kentucky last year and I know that we can do even better this year so I'm ready to go back. Personally, I'm ready to get back on an oval and at Kentucky, I've had some good drives spoiled by bad luck or mistakes so I'm ready to go there this year and put together a great run from start to finish. Kentucky is a place where I think we can make up some ground in the points as well, and after a weekend off I'm refreshed and ready to hit the track."

-credit: vr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tomas Scheckter , Michael Schumacher , Justin Wilson , Boris Said , Al Unser Jr. , Davey Hamilton , Airton Daré , A.J. Foyt IV , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Oriol Servia , Bryan Herta , Skip Barber , Tony George , Patrick Dempsey , A.J. Foyt , Ed Carpenter
Teams Newman Haas Lanigan Racing