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GEM Introduces New Driver Patrick Carpentier
Patrick Carpentier was introduced to the media Tuesday at a press conference prior to the Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre. Foster Gillett welcomed Carpentier on behalf of the Gillett family, who owns the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club and recently purchased ownership in Gillett Evernham Motorsports. “There is tremendous local support for our hometown sports figures here in Quebec and Canada,” said Foster Gillett. “That is why we wanted to introduce Patrick to the local media and fans here at the Bell Centre.”

Patrick Carpentier

“These past few months have been a dream come true for me,” said Carpentier, driver of the #10 Dodge Avenger [in 2008]. “I look forward to working with the Gillett family, Ray Evernham and my teammates Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler.” Appropriately, the Montreal Canadiens presented Carpentier with a personalized #10 hockey jersey. Clear!Blue/GEM PR

It was hard to tell which was the bigger thrill for Patrick Carpentier - getting a full-time ride in NASCAR or wearing a Montreal Canadiens' No. 10 jersey at the Bell Centre.

Carpentier was presented with the jersey at centre ice by the man who made it famous, his boyhood hero Guy Lafleur, to a long ovation in a ceremony before the Canadiens game against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

The Gillett Evernham team, owned by Canadiens owner George Gillett and his family, had announced last week that the veteran driver from Joliette, Que., would pilot its car No. 10 in the Busch and Nextel Cup series next year.

"When I played as a kid, everyone on the street was Guy Lafleur," Carpentier said of the Canadiens legend of the 1970s. "And Lafleur was friends with (former Ferrari driver) Gilles Villeneuve.

"It's funny how everything happens."

Lafleur's jersey number was retired long ago, but the one Carpentier wore had little wings on the 1 to suggest speed.

Carpentier, who spent most of his career in open-wheel racing for CART, Champ Car and the Indy Racing League, is to replace Scott Riggs at Gillett Evernham. More at Canadian Press

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