Texas: Patrick Carpentier preview

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads west to the "Lone Star State" for this weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway. No. 10 Valvoline Dodge driver Patrick Carpentier will again attempt to qualify for the 43-car field solely on time. After a ...

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads west to the "Lone Star State" for this weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway. No. 10 Valvoline Dodge driver Patrick Carpentier will again attempt to qualify for the 43-car field solely on time.

After a successful performance at Martinsville the No. 10 team gained a spot in owner points and is 45th, 192 points outside of the top-35, but only 81 points away from gaining five positions in the standings.

DRIVER PATRICK CARPENTIER:

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM MARTINSVILLE? "I'm really happy. It's a learning process. It's something to do one lap, but to learn to run with these guys for the entire race, that's the problem.

"At first I was running alright, then I got spun out a couple times and I was lucky I didn't hit the wall. I was thinking, 'man, when is this going to stop?' It seemed like it was going from bad to worse. Toward the end of the race I finally began understanding that I needed to roll the center of the corner a lot faster than what I was doing. I was driving the car like qualifying which is very different than what it needs to be. Martinsville was like a fist fight in a phone booth.

"That's how it is. When you miss three races you get behind. You don't learn that stuff. You stay home, you watch and you don't learn anything. So making the race this weekend was an amazing thing, especially for a short track."

HEADING TO TEXAS "Texas is going to be fun. It's been a few weeks since we've been to a track that I've raced on before. I had never been to Bristol and Martinsville before going there for the race.

"I've raced at TMS in the IRL, but like I said before, there isn't too much I can carry over to stock cars from my open-wheel experience. It's actually pretty boring racing around there in an open-wheel car. All you try to do is run the bottom and hold the throttle wide open. Running around there in stock cars will be a lot more challenging.

"We're excited. Last weekend was a huge hurdle for us. It wasn't pretty, but we finished the race and even gained a spot in the owner standings. That was one of our goals. If we can keep making races, and finishing them we will slowly begin to chip away at the top-35. It has been a really tight battle between the guys outside the top-35. Now, with a few of the bigger names outside of it, it will only be harder."

CO-OWNER, GEORGE GILLETT JR:

ON CARPENTIER'S PERFORMANCE TO DATE "Patrick is the real thing. These fellows who come from open-wheel racing have no problem with driving fast in close quarters. You saw how he ran in the qualifying races down in Daytona. Unfortunately, he had a tire going down, but he kept going.

"He qualified brilliantly at Atlanta. I don't think any other driver came close to picking up half a second on their second qualifying lap, like Patrick did. He's the real thing, and we're proud of him.

"Both Patrick and his team have risen to the challenge. He's a great guy. The sponsors love him, and our fans love him. We're very pleased with that relationship."

-credit: gem

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Patrick Carpentier