Carpenter beats Franchitti in photo finish at Kentucky
IndyCar oval specialist Ed Carpenter has tried for years to win an IndyCar race and on Sunday in his 113th start at Kentucky Speedway he did it in style by holding off Dario Franchitti to win the Kentucky Indy 300 by just 0.0098s, about a nose.
With his 2nd place finish Franchitti re-took the points lead from Will Power who finished 19th after being speared on pit road by Ana Beatriz who was sent out of her pit right into the path of Power.
Power had to pit twice more and fell back to 23rd -- the last car on the lead lap. He soldiered on and finished 19th, but is 18 points behind Franchitti entering the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda.
Power was clearly disappointed.
"We had the quickest car, an unbelievably fast car," Power said, but said the pit road accident made it "a fight to just hang on to the back of the field."
Franchitti, the two-time defending series champion, said he was never told on the team radio that Power had trouble and only realized it when he closed in on his rival to put him a lap down.
"It changed my mood in the car," laughed Franchitti.
"Just shows how quickly things change. You never give up until it's mathematically possible, you haven't lost it and you haven't won it. We're going to go to Vegas and try to win the big one, but we learned today how quickly things can change."
"Dario raced me hard and clean," Carpenter said. "I knew we had a better car than him the second or third stint. My visor was falling off — I drove 15 or 20 laps one-handed holding it onto my helmet waiting for a pit stop. I wasn't going to let a visor get in my way. Just so proud to be a part of this team."
Carpenter met a tearful Sarah Fisher in Victory Lane. The new mother was celebrating with the daughter she gave birth to three weeks ago, and joked the newborn was such good luck she can never miss another race again.
"The boys have just done a tremendous job," Fisher said. "The big ovals were 100 percent of our focus this year. I still can't believe it, it's just unreal."
Fisher said the team learned a few weeks ago that sponsor Dollar General will not return next year, and hoped the victory could either change the company's mind or attract other funding.
"We're trying to figure it out," Fisher said.
James Hinchcliffe outdueled Ryan Hunter-Reay to grab 4th and Hunter-Reay was 5th.
Other drivers who had a chance to win was Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal. Andretti made a mistake on pit lane and got tangled up with three cars and the contact put him out.
Rahal was fast but did not get enough fuel on the next to last stop and had to make a splash and go during the last caution and he lost track position.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Las Vegas Indy 300, the main event of the IZOD INDYCAR World Championship Presented by Honda, on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by ABC at 3 p.m.
SARAH FISHER (Owner, Sarah Fisher Racing): "Just to see Ed drive his tail off is just so amazing. We figured out that next year, Dollar General is not coming back, so maybe they'll change their mind now. But, you k now certainly it was just a great weekend. They guys all worked their tail off, I haven't been to the shop in three weeks. My baby girl is obviously good luck…I'm just so happy to be here. (Is Kentucky you second home?): Ed's too. He's just done an amazing job for us leading laps at Indy. We've just put all our effort, 100 percent of our focus on ovals and it's paid off."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Downy, finished second): We had a tough day yesterday, really were slow in qualifying and we did what we do—do our best. We made some good places on the first stint, had a good in lap, good pit stop, really good pit stop, really good out lap, and we came up from like fifth or sixth to the lead. And from then on, just tried to stay low there and keep going, and just ran out of overtakes one lap shy there and Ed got me. He drove a great race. The guys told me use an overtake every lap, and I miscounted by one.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, finished third): "It was a frustrating day, really, we were just going slow for some reason. Obviously we finished pretty well in third, but it took three of four laps to get going. I kept trying to jump the restarts to get a bit of an advantage, but as soon as Dario and other guys on the restart just blew on by. Actually we messed p some of the restarts, but great day for the team, huge points swing in the championship for Dario which is much need and is going to make it exciting going into Vegas. All in all, going to take the positives, and obviously winning the A.J. Foyt Oval Championship was definitely a nice end to the season.
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing): "The Telemundo car was actually great except it had a lot of understeer. We just missed our target on the front wing. The rest of the car was awesome we just had too much understeer. Unfortunately you can only put so much wing in on each pit stop without losing too much time. Every pit stop the car would get better because we put more wing in each time. But again we didn't want to stay in the pits too long putting wing in and lose positions. At the end the car was at its best but I still think we were a couple of turns short on the front wing. Apart from that I am happy coming from ninth. We had some moments where we thought we would end better but it is what it is. It was an interesting race, tough to pass. It was a good result for the team."
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "We were so close to that podium. Obviously starting third was great. We had a good car and a little bit more downforce than the fast guys so I couldn't lead very well but I could push guys really well. At one point I was pushing Oriol back up to the pack. Near the end there I let Cunningham go by so I could push him up to the pack. Once we were in the pack I think the extra downforce was helping. We had some trouble in the pits today but some things were out of our control like when JR had a problem in front of us in his pit box. But the car was good and we were able to pick those places back off. It was a ton of fun; this is the kind of racing you wanted to see here on the 1.5 milers and it was a great show for the fans." (On taking the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points lead:) "Certainly it's nice to go into the last race of the year a little bit up (in points) but at the end of the day there is still a lot that can happen. As you can see JR was ahead of us on track at one point during the day and so many things can happen to throw you off. It just proves how tough these races are; its really about being there at the end. We'll take it! Obviously I would rather be ahead than behind but there is still another 300 mile race to get through."
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "It's definitely a race to forget. From the beginning the car was undriveable. It was extremely loose and I almost lost it several times. Therefore we made the decision to pit early and make some changes which we believed would fix the car and it did. Once I returned to the track the car was way better and stable enough to make it to the end of the race, but we didn't have the pace and were a number of laps down. I also feel very bad for my Chief Mechanic, DJ McMahon who was injured by Simona de Silvestro in the pits. He unfortunately fractured his knee and hopefully will get better soon. As a team we are disappointed of the results, but we have one more shot (Vegas Final) to put all our best efforts to bring home a stellar result."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "It was a very tough race. At the beginning the car was so loose I almost lost it several times. But the main problem was we just didn't have overall speed, so I just kept following other cars using the draft. I gained a lot of positions on the restarts, but then I would get overtaken because the car was slow. In the end I was pleased that I finished the race. We did everything we could and we showed strength as a team. The pit stops were great. The crew did a good job. We need to go back and review what we did this weekend because we were not at our best today."
TONY KANAAN (No. 82 GEICO - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "We were slow, slow all day long. There was nothing I could do to make the car go any faster, so I took every start and restart to gain positions and did my best to maintain them during the green flag periods. But the car really didn't help. As soon as the field began to stretch I started losing positions again. It was a painful day for the GEICO - KVRT - Lotus guys."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central): "The Service Central guys did a great job all day today. The No. 38 Service Central car was quick and had the pace to finish up front. I worked with my teammates Dario (Franchitti) and Scott (Dixon) to pull away from the group when we were running top-3 and it seemed to work well. We know the Service Central car can run up front. I'm looking forward to a good finish in Las Vegas."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 17 Air Ride Pallet): "The Air Ride Pallet AFS car handled great. We didn't get as much race running done in the second practice. We did a little qualifying simulation work. I wasn't 100 percent sure where we needed to be in terms of race car. We moved up in the first two stints making wing changes and tire pressure adjustments. We went too far in the second stint, but Ben did a great job dialing it back. He didn't make any wing changes in the last stop so we didn't lose any positions during the yellow pit stop. Again, the car handled really well. Once you get to those top-five guys, I ran fourth behind Dixon and I was able to push him around Hunter-Reay. Once I got there, that's when you really notice that extra down force that we were running. You really notice it when you're running with the top-three guys. We did what we had to get through the cars. Once we got to the front, that's the compromise (extra down force) you make. If I had played my cards better, we could have finished fourth but I am pleased with this finish today."
DAN WHELDON (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "It was eventful (his race). It kept me busy, but that happens when you start from the back. By the same token, we were able to move forward in the Bowers & Wilkins at Magnolia car. We just didn't seem to quite have the speed and the balance necessary to get right to the front. I think certainly that this experience will help for Las Vegas and it certainly allows Nick (Snyder) and I to work together, along with the team, before we move to Las Vegas. That's experience that is invaluable."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 @FollowAndretti): "It was a tough day for us. Obviously we wanted to stay where we were at the start. That was difficult at the beginning of runs. Then the car settled down for us. But we went backwards and I tried to stay out of trouble. It made for a really long day. We just couldn't get the car to my liking."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): "It wasn't a bad day. It was a little frustrating because you couldn't complete the pass when you got up to someone. It was crazy racing in the end. It was a good top-five for us. We really didn't have the setup to win today. We had a run in the last four of five laps that could have moved us to the front, but I had nowhere to go. I was boxed in and couldn't get past anyone. In the last corner, I kept my foot in it. I knew I was going to get a huge push and James (Hinchcliffe) was able to go around me on the outside. We definitely wanted more for today. I feel badly for Marco (Andretti). He had a good car and he had an incident in the pits. That is sad. This place is more of a handling track that the next race in Las Vegas. Las Vegas will be more about engineering the car for aerodynamics."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "It was a tough day. We passed a lot of cars and we had a fast car. I was just told we had the 5th fastest lap but every time we came into the pits we were put last because the pits in front of us (Viso) kept having problems and crashing. We went last every single stop. Towards the end of the race we lost half of the front wicker (something hit it) & lost a lot of downforce. That's how the day went."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen): "It was a really good day for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. We were strong all day and I had a great car. The No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen car started out great and I think we made it a little bit better in the middle of the race. About half-way through that last stint on the last restart, I didn't keep up with the car balance like some of the other guys did and that put me a little off at the end when I needed it. I got chopped a couple of times and shuffled back, but proved all day we can run inside the top 10 and have the pace to be there on long green flag stints as well as restarts. I'm really looking forward to doing it again and taking it another step forward in Las Vegas."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "Nothing we could do about that one (pit road incident). We lost 4 mph with the hole in the side of the car. Guys had done such a good job with the car, we had the fastest car on the track, best car I've ever had on an oval. Handling was still there, just no speed." (Next race at Las Vegas): "We can go there (Las Vegas) and prepare this car cause its really fast and go there and win and see what happens."
PIPPA MANN (No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing): "We had a rough stint to start the race and we developed a big push that caused us to lose a couple laps, but the guys did a great job in bringing the car back," Mann said. "After that first stop, the car got a lot better and I was able to gain a lot of experience. Nobody laid down and gave up after that first stint, everybody kept battling hard and I was very impressed with that. I learned a lot that of things that I will be able to use at Las Vegas in two weeks."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Transitions Adaptive Lenses Team Penske): "It was a pretty good day for the Transition Adaptive Lenses car. We had a fast car and we passed a lot cars coming through the field. MY pit crew gave me awesome stops today and we gave it our best, but we just didn't have quite enough pace to get up front with the leaders and fight for the win. It's very unfortunate that the 12 and 3 cars had the days that they did."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Cintas Team Penske): "It's a really a shame for the Cintas Team Penske car. We changed engines after qualifying and the car was just awesome from the green flag. We were moving up to the front when we noticed a water issue. We came into the pits and once the guys took a look, we just lost power. It's just one of those things - it rarely happens, but it seems everything is happening to us this season. Hopefully we can turn things around and finish the season on a positive note in Las Vegas."
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