Carpentier to become stock car driver UPDATE #4 Patrick Carpentier's open wheel racing career appears to be over, at least for now. He told SPEEDTV.com, "I don't think I'll be racing open wheel very much this season. I'm leaning toward NASCAR right now, we're working on a multiple year deal which I hope to announce soon. I cannot say anything else right now, other that I would like to start at the bottom, with ARCA or something like that, and then build up slowly. Also hoping to do more Grand Am prototypes, I really enjoyed that."
Things have to be pretty bad in open wheel racing for a veteran like Carpentier to have to go all the way down to ARCA to restart his career.
02/24/06 Canadian Patrick Carpentier is waiting to hear today whether he is in line for the second seat at PKV Racing, autosport.com reports. The Canadian, currently in Mexico competing in the A1 GP series, said he is expecting a call today and should a PKV ride not happen, he may skip Champ Car altogether in 2006.
"Obviously when Forsythe confirmed Mario Dominguez would be partnering Paul [Tracy] this year, that closed out one option.
"And apparently, if they run a third car, it will be for someone with a budget - and that certainly isn't me! PKV is the other team that I am interested in, but I know a lot of other guys are too, but I hope one way or another I will know today."
Would he consider other Champ Car teams?
"No, Mecachrome [Carpentier's long time backer] are more interested in investigating NASCAR - they think it would make better business sense," Carpentier told Autosport.com.
"We're looking at doing a program of Craftsman Trucks and Busch Series rounds. I'd be interested to try it, for sure. I could end up racing Paul again - that would be fun." 01/19/06 In this Globe and Mail article, Carpentier says, "I would like to give Champ Car another shot because I think I have improved since going to the IRL and I also missed racing in Canada last year. I would love to race there again," he said.
"I don't want to stop open-wheel racing now. I will look at many different things and series. I am going to race at least 15 times this year, but maybe doing different things."
One of the new things he will try is the A1GP series after Carpentier inked a two-race deal with Team Canada to drive in Monterrey, Mex., on Feb. 26 and again March 12 at Laguna Seca, Calif.
The deal is expected to be announced today at a press conference in Montreal.
While Carpentier's personal sponsor Mecachrome pays his salary and offers his team cost-reducing technical expertise, he has no flush backers to bring to the negotiating table.
"When I talked to [IRL team, owner Bobby] Rahal, he said: 'The business has changed now and we need money to survive. We are looking for guys who will bring lots of money to the team,' " Carpentier said.
"I think there might be a good possibility [at Forsythe Racing] with Paul [Tracy] wanting to go to NASCAR in 2007. If Forsythe wants to keep a presence in Canada, I might have a good chance there."
While Carpentier continues to speak with a number of Champ Car teams, he feels the only bona fide opportunity lies with PKV Racing. He hopes to have his future settled in the next six weeks.
At about the same time he expects to make a decision about 2006, Carpentier will welcome a baby boy into the world as he becomes a father for the second time. It hasn't been an easy pregnancy for his wife Anick whose doctor ordered bed rest following surgery late last year to prevent a miscarriage.
Doctors hope to get the pregnancy to the end of next month before the couple's second child is born weeks ahead of schedule.
"If we can go all the way to the end of February, then the baby has a much better chance, so that's what we're trying. But everything is stable and that's the main thing," he said. "A boy and a girl will be perfect and then we will close the shop."
With his wife resting at home, Carpentier slipped away last month to complete a quick test of the Cheever Racing Lexus prototype at the Daytona International Speedway and then returned to Florida for another four hours of testing earlier this month.01/07/06 “I love the Daytona Prototype,” said Patrick Carpentier after the 3-day test that ended today. “It’s a fun car to drive, and I think I’m really going to enjoy it. Maybe this is where I’ll end up racing this season.”
Carpentier joins Cheever and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 39 Cheever Racing Crown Royal Lexus Crawford. The team also fields the No. 51 car for Tommy Edros, Mike Newton, Warren Hughes and Stefan Johansson.12/27/05 In the French language section of Patrick Carpentier's personal website, there's an article titled "Even without a seat, Carpentier sleeps well":
He's quoted as saying, "I've always felt that IRL and Champ Car should have gotten back together, but that didn't happen. That explains the problems we're going through.
"In Champ Car, the new owners have done an excellent job these past two years. But I don't know if Champ Car is now stronger than the IRL.
"Mecachrome is intensively looking for a seat for me in IRL or Champ Car, or anywhere.
"I wouldn't be sorry to go back to Champ Car, I've always had fun there. I wanted to do the Indy 500, and I did it, so..."