Mid-Ohio: Vision Racing preview

* TAKING THE VISION TO MID-OHIO: The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be Vision Racing's third trip to the natural terrain road course. The 2007 season was the Indy Car Series' first event there and the team secured a top-10 finish in the inaugural...

* TAKING THE VISION TO MID-OHIO: The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be Vision Racing's third trip to the natural terrain road course. The 2007 season was the Indy Car Series' first event there and the team secured a top-10 finish in the inaugural race as team driver Tomas Scheckter finished ninth after starting from the 12th spot. Fellow teammates A.J. Foyt IV and Ed Carpenter also participated in that event with Foyt starting 14th and finishing 13th while Carpenter started and finished in the 16th position. Last year, Carpenter and Foyt returned to Mid-Ohio for Vision Racing started 22nd and 23rd and finished 15th and 18th, respectively.

* WELLNESS TOUR IN MID-OHIO- The Vision Racing Wellness Tour, supported by team sponsor Lilly USA, will make an important pit stop for a second consecutive year at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course providing racing fans with FREE diabetes screenings with A1c testing and risk factor assessment, along with cholesterol and blood pressure testing. The Wellness Tour mobile unit (bus) will be located in the infield in the vendor area and will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 9th, race day at Mid-Ohio.

* OH SO CLOSE: Last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Carpenter earned a career-best finish of second, led 34 laps, was the most improved driver (started 14th) had the fastest lap of the race for the second consecutive season and put on an impressive display that stole the show as by crossing the finish line just 0.0162 of a second behind Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske. Not only was it Carpenter's career-best finish in 93 starts over six seasons, it was also Vision Racing's best oval finish and it also matched Ryan Hunter-Reay's second place finish for the team earlier this season on the streets of St. Petersburg. Hunter-Reay was runner-up to Briscoe in that race as well. It was the closest finish in the history of Kentucky Speedway and the 11th closest finish in IndyCar Series history.

* OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT: In response to Ed Carpenter's show stopping second-place photo finish on Saturday night, fans put on an impressive display of their own in the form of support and appreciation by way of tweets, Facebook posts, e-mails, text messages, voice mails, phone calls, and even some pats on the back. Following the Saturday night race in Kentucky on Aug 1st, 2009, hundreds of messages from viewers and fans began to come in via Twitter, Facebook and the team's website. All were either congratulations for the team's efforts or messages reacting to how exciting. nail-biting, and heart stopping the IndyCar race was thanks to Ed Carpenter's drive to the front and his battle with competitor Ryan Briscoe for Penske Racing. All the messages received (pages and pages of them!) were posted on the team bulletin board this week in the Vision race shop for all team members to read.

* HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: After forming and joining the Indy Racing League in 2005, Vision Racing is celebrating its fifth season of competition in 2009. Since the team embarked upon IndyCar Series competition, eight drivers have piloted five (Nos. 2, 20, 21, 22, 90) different team entries. Those drivers have combined for an additional 45 top-10 finishes, plus 10 top-five finishes, four more podium finishes and 76 laps led. Over the previous four years the quest for the team's first victory has been top priority and Vision Racing is confident that year five will be the season where that it happens. The team's best ever finishes occurred in the 2009 as Ryan Hunter-Reay drove from 14th to finish second in the season opener at St. Petersburg and Carpenter also drove from 14th to second at Kentucky Speedway. Hunter-Reay's podium finish also put Vision second in the championship point standings at the time which was also its' the highest-ever ranking. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be the team's 79th IndyCar Series event since their first season in 2005.

* FIRST-HAND FROM THE FAMILY: Since the beginning of the season, Vision Racing team co-owner, Lauren George has been writing a blog, much to the enjoyment of the fans, which has been featured both on the team's Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/VisionRacing) and on the team's new website (www.VisionRacing.com/fans). Her highly anticipated blog post that recaps the team's weekend at Kentucky is up and ready for reading. And if that's not enough, her father and fellow team co-owner, Tony George, got into the act in Edmonton by publishing his thoughts and opinions in response to a recent announcement he made exclusively on the team's website early in July. The latter George's post drew more than 16,000 hits to the site in less than one day. Both are planning to continue submissions periodically throughout the remainder of the season, exclusively at VisionRacing.com. Not to mention, Carpenter has begun adding a video blog to the site now in addition to his updates on his continued "tweets" at www.twitter.com/edcarpenter20.

* ON ROAD/STREET COURSES: The team's best finishes on a road or street course is second, recently scored in the 2009 season-opener at St. Petersburg by Ryan Hunter-Reay in his debut with the team. It is also the team's highest finish overall. Prior to Hunter-Reay's podium finish, the previous best road and street course drives include a fourth place finish scored by Paul Tracy in 2008 at Edmonton, and a pair of sixth place drives; one captured by Tomas Scheckter on the streets of St. Petersburg in 2007 and the other by Ed Carpenter in 2006 at Watkins Glen International. The team's best finish at Mid-Ohio came in 2007 when Tomas Scheckter finished ninth.

* ON LOAN: Considered a win-win situation for all involved, Vision Racing driver Ryan Hunter-Reay has taken over piloting duties of A.J. Foyt's No. 14 ABC Supply entry for the remainder of the 2009 IndyCar season in a deal that began at Iowa. Hunter-Reay, who drove the No. 21 Vision Honda Dallara to a second place podium finish in the 2009 season opener at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida, and has transferred his driving services to A.J. Foyt Racing as a temporary replacement for the injured Vitor Meira.

* 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 Dempsey Racing, formerly Hypersport. He raced a Ferrari F430 GT with Team Seattle in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans and also competed in the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

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

* AT MID-OHIO: Carpenter has two starts at Mid-Ohio with his best attempt coming in 2007 when he started 16th and finished 13th. Last year, Carpenter started 22nd and finished 15th.

* MOST RECENTLY: Starting from the 14th spot (based on entrant points) on the grid for the Meijer Indy 300, held at the Kentucky Speedway, Carpenter's drive for Vision Racing no less than stole the show in the No. 20 Menards machine Saturday night under the lights. After passing seven cars in the first eight laps, Carpenter led a total of 34 laps and earned a career-best finish of second; finishing just behind Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe by a margin of 0.0162 of a second in the IndyCar Series' closest finish at Kentucky. As a result Carpenter jumped to 12th in the IndyCar Series championship point standings from 16th and now has 226 total points after 12 races (190 points behind the leader).

* BABY ON BOARD: Just as planned, Carpenter and wife Heather (Pettigrew) welcomed their second child into the world on June 1st as the 8 lb. 1 oz., 20 inch long Ryder Carpenter arrived on his due date. Young Ryder has been traveling the IndyCar Series circuit with his family at just a few weeks old; joining the schedule back in June for the Iowa event and tagging along ever since. Big sister, Makenna was born in October 2007, while the couple was married November 8, 2005 on the Island of St. Thomas.

* 2009 SEASON: This is the sixth full season in IndyCar Series competition for Carpenter and the seventh season that he has participated in overall. Carpenter is looking to build off of four top-ten finishes and a career-best second place finish at Kentucky Speedway. His top-ten finishes came on the ovals of Kansas, Indianapolis, Texas and Iowa. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be Carpenter's 13th event of the 2009 IndyCar Series season.

* LEADER LAPS: In his fifth IndyCar Series start in at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2008, Carpenter recorded his first laps led in an IndyCar. He led the field for three laps under caution and finished an Indianapolis 500 career-best, fifth. He led again this season for a lap at Texas Motor Speedway and again last weekend for 34 laps at Kentucky Speedway. He has a total of 38 career-leader laps.

* BACK WITH MENARDS: The No. 20 Vision Racing machine again features the most recognizable car on track as it carries the day-glow yellow color of Menards for the second consecutive season. Menards returned as the primary sponsor of the No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, driven by Ed Carpenter. The Menards sponsorship also continues a long-lasting relationship between the home store retailer with Carpenter. The 28-year-old driver carried the Menards livery in 2002, with Sinden Racing in Firestone Indy Lights competition and well before that his days of dirt track racing behind the wheel of quarter midgets.

* NEW VIEW FROM THE COCKPIT: Carpenter still has the same view from the cockpit that he's always had, but fans of the driver will notice a different look coming from his cockpit this season as his helmet is carrying the distinct colors and logos of the premium jean and clothing retailer, William Rast, for the 2009 season.

* ED "CARPENTER": Carpenter and his arsenal of power tools were busy again this past off-season as he was knee deep in a house flipping project with a long time friend as well as occupied with rehab projects around his own home. 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 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.

* INAUGURAL 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 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament qualifying Butler University, Indianapolis, Ind., with a marketing degree in May 2003.

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

* ED AT-A-GLANCE: Carpenter is participating in his sixth season in the IndyCar Series, and his fifth with his second team in Vision Racing. The 28-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 sixth season overall, the best for both he and the team. So far he's done that with a career-best second place finish at Kentucky Speedway in August with 34 laps led.

-credit: vr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tomas Scheckter , Michael Schumacher , Al Unser Jr. , A.J. Foyt IV , Paul Tracy , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Patrick Dempsey , A.J. Foyt , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske