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Ford Focus Midget comments from Patrick Carpentier
 
March 23, 2004

Champ Car driver Patrick Carpentier will race a Ford Focus Midget as part of the second annual Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on Saturday, March 27th . Carpentier spoke about his racing background and a test in the Ford Focus Midget car last year.

The FOCUS MIDGET SERIES IS A STARTING POINT FOR BEGINNING RACERS. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN RACING? "For me, I grew up snowmobiling; actually this winter I did a snow cross charity event back in Canada. My father used to race snowmobiles with Gilles Villeneuve. And, of course, Gilles went on to race in Formula 1. That's how I got started in racing. I also did a lot of speedskating on ovals. I had won the championship in speedskating and then moved on to karting. Actually, I fell in love with anything that had an engine, motocross, snowmobiles anything that had a throttle and you can turn. I have to be careful, though, I can't do it like I could when I was younger."

Having grown up in Canada, what type of grassroots racing exists for drivers? "Canada has a lot of dirt tracks with stock cars. You have quite a bit of that going on in the summertime. Grassroots road racing is popular as well. Sanair Speedway was a popular oval track in Canada. We used to race on ovals quite a bit in Formula 2000, 1600 and a few other cars."

IS there any sprint car series in Canada? "There are some sprint car races in Canada but nothing compared to what you guys have in the U.S. Its funny now that I've seen the World of Outlaws, and when somebody from Canada tells me, 'Some of those Outlaw cars run close to where I live, I say, 'No, I don't think you have any of those types of cars.' It's a different type of thing. When I came to the U.S. and started watching sprint cars, I couldn't believe how quick those things could go."

Have you driven one A Focus Midgets before? "Yes, I have I tested one last year at Irwindale."

How do you adapt your driving style from a rear-engine 750hp champ car to a front-engined 200hp Focus midget? " The test last year was on asphalt, so to be honest, it was very similar to the Champ Car. You had to be careful and save the tires it's not like on dirt where you have to be completely sideways. The feel of power was not that different. The size of the car is a lot smaller. The response of the car was unbelievable because the vehicle is so light when compared to a Champ Car. You can toy with the car a little more. Once you get sideways in a Camp Car there is going to be a lot of money thrown out for the damage. You can hold a Champ Car sideways a little bit but they are so fast you start dancing from left to right and you go right towards the wall. With the Focus Midget you can carry them out sideways and it's a blast. Its unbelievable that they can make an engine that can last two or three years of racing. It's a cheap way to go racing and have a lot of fun and learn about it."

What would be a successful night for you at Irwindale? "Winning, having no crashes and fighting with the other guys for position. I don't necessarily expect to go there and win. The guys that are in the race are pretty darn good. No, I just want finish in the top-three or top-five. A top-five and I will be happy. You know what I really want, just to battle from start to finish. Pass some cars and get passed. Just laugh and have a good time."

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