Mexico City: Patrick Carpentier race report

CARPENTIER SCORES TOP-FIVE FINISH AT MEXICO CITY MEXICO CITY, Mex. (April 20, 2008) - Patrick Carpentier's first ride behind the wheel of the No. 9 Auto Value Dodge at Mexico's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez resulted in a fifth place finish for...


MEXICO CITY, Mex. (April 20, 2008) - Patrick Carpentier's first ride behind the wheel of the No. 9 Auto Value Dodge at Mexico's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez resulted in a fifth place finish for the Ville LaSalle, Quebec native. The weekend saw Carpentier and the Gillett Evernham Motorsports racing team solidify its position as one of the top road racing teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

On Saturday Carpentier qualified his Dodge in the seventh position after recording a best lap of 89.067 seconds around the 2.518-mile road course.

Shortly after the drop of the green flag for Sunday's Mexico 200, the former Champ Car standout established himself as contender to win. As the first green flag pit cycle of the day began, Carpentier found himself leading on lap 19 prior to his lap 20 pit stop. On the stop, the Gillett Evernham team provided Carpentier's ride with four fresh tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment.

Following the pit stop, the day became eventful for the driver of the Auto Value Dodge. On lap 25, Carpentier and fellow road course specialist Boris Said got together, resulting in Said spinning. Carpentier received no damage from the incident. By lap 40, he moved into the sixth position despite an increase in engine temperature.

Carpentier pitted again on lap 46. In addition to receiving tires and fuel, the Gillett Evernham pit crew removed tape off the grill in an effort to alleviate the rising temperatures in the motor. After the pit stop cycle ended, Carpentier found himself in third place with 20 laps to go.

Not only did Carpentier battle Marcos Ambrose and Carl Edwards for position but also battled a 240-degree engine and a significant loss of power. He managed to come across the finish line in fifth, his best finish behind the wheel of a Gillett Evernham Motorsports entry.

"The Auto Value team really showed their commitment to teamwork this weekend," Carpentier explained after the race. "We came in here on Friday with a strong car and the setup from last year. Unfortunately, that setup didn't really feel right for me. So we started from scratch and just kept working on the car all weekend. By the time the race started on Sunday, I knew Kirk [Almquist, crew chief] and the guys did a great job because the car felt really good."

"It was a lot of fun racing here today," Carpentier continued. "I knew we had a good car from the beginning of the race but we suffered through a hot engine all day. Towards the end of the race it just lost too much power for us to be able to run up front like we were. I wanted to get a strong finish for Auto Value and the crew so I didn't force anything and drifted back to where I could get some cool air to the engine. To come out of here with a top-five finish is huge for us. I knew we had a car capable of this finish. To get a strong run with the engine running hot says a lot about the capabilities of this team."


Carpentier scored the best finish for an Auto Value-sponsored car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series since Kasey Kahne finished fourth in August 2006 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Auto Value also became the first auto parts company to sponsor a Canadian racer in an American car in a race taking place in Mexico.


As mentioned on Friday night's edition of ESPN NASCAR Now on and ESPN's live race coverage of the Mexico 200, Patrick Carpentier's race-worn, helmet will be placed on eBay for auction in early May. Autographed by Patrick, the helmet will be worn in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Mexico City.

Proceeds from the auctioning of the helmet will benefit Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper's Charity Cars program.

Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Charity Cars takes in donated cars from store customers and then allows the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper experts to inspect and ensure that each and every car is ready for the road. The refurbished vehicles will then be presented to over 500 recipients across the nation, all of whom are victims of domestic violence.

The official auction URL will be


On June 1, Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper will move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, adorning the Patrick Carpentier's No. 10 Dodge at Dover International Speedway.

-credit: mmi

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Drivers Boris Said , Patrick Carpentier , Kasey Kahne , Marcos Ambrose , Carl Edwards