Carpentier Returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup Competition this Weekend Patrick Carpentier will return to the NASCAR circuit next weekend driving Frank Stoddard Jr's #32 Ford at Kansas Speedway. The Canadian driver, who now lives in Las Vegas, has confirmed that he will compete in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the year on June 5 at the 1.5-mile (2.414 km) banked oval, round 13 of the 2011 schedule.
"This will mark the first time in my Sprint Cup career that I will be driving a car that is already qualified for the race," said Carpentier who will be making his 40th Sprint Cup start. "There will be a lot less pressure when we practice on Friday, because we will be able to work both on qualifying and race set ups. I am thrilled that Frank (Stoddard) chose me to drive the number 32 car in Kansas. With the confirmation of my ride in the Nationwide race in Montréal with Michael Waltrip's team next August, it's two good news items out of three. (Editor's note - Carpentier was alluding to the fact that he crashed during qualifying at Indianapolis last May 22). This latest news makes for a fantastic end of the month of May."
As a rule, the top 35 cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Owners Standing are pre-qualified for the race. This enables the driver to work on qualifying and race set ups rather than concentrate only on preparing the car for qualifying in order to make the field. Frank Stoddard's team is currently 33rd with 169 points. Four drivers have driven the #32 Ford so far in the first 11 of 12 races. Terry Labonte, with two starts, has collected the team's best results with a 15th place in the season opener at Daytona, and Ken Schrader, the driver with the most starts with five, scored a best 22nd place at Martinsville. As for Mike Skinner and Mike Bliss, their best results were respectively 24th and 25th.
Patrick will be on track Friday, June 3rd at 1:30 p.m., Eastern Time, for the first 80-minute practice session, followed by a 90-minute session schedule to start at 4:30 p.m. Each driver gets a two-lap qualifying run on Saturday with the session starting at noon. Fans can watch these sessions live on SPEED network. The green flag for the 400-mile race will be given at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The 267-lap event can be seen live on FOX and TSN.
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