Sunday, June 8, 2014

Drama-Filled Race at Texas Brings Third Career Victory for Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter shoots the guns.
Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
Ed Carpenter scored the third victory of his Verizon IndyCar Series career in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. He led 90 laps and survived a late-race caution to make his way to Victory Lane where the Foyt-Rutherford trophy awaited him along with a Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hat and a pair of six-shooters.

"I've always liked this place and ran okay, just haven't had good luck here to be honest, so it was nice to finally break through tonight," said Carpenter. "The team gave me a great car. They've been giving us great cars all year for myself and Mike, so it's nice to be able to deliver."

Billed as the "Second Home of IndyCar racing," TMS rarely fails to deliver exciting racing and drama. Saturday night's event, which marked the 25th race run at Texas, more than any track other than Indianapolis Motor Speedway, certainly brought the drama. And the comedy, too, in the post-race media center interviews.

From Will Power's point of view, he gave Carpenter the victory. Power led 145 laps and was poised to win his third race of the season when he caught a penalty for speeding on pit road.

"That's four drive-throughs in five races," said Power. "Got to stop doing that. It's ruining our chances of winning. But an awesome call at the end by the team to call for new tires and obviously got back to at least where we were, one more lap and we probably would have had it. But yeah, very good day. Great day, really enjoyed it."

According to Juan Pablo Montoya, Carpenter got the win by cheating. Montoya, who led 13 laps, his first since the Indy 500, managed a third-place finish, his best since his return to IndyCar. While he said he had a lot of fun in the race, saying he hadn't had that much fun in a long time, Montoya accused Carpenter of jumping the restart.

"I was recovering from a flat tire at the beginning of the race," said Montoya. "We recovered and we did a good job there, and just a little mad at the end. I don't know, I want to go talk to IndyCar and clarify why the cones are there for the restart if you don't have to use them. I don't know. I understand if you wanted to go a little early or a little late, it's okay, but like 200, 300 yards before we get to the cones and he was already going, I was kind of disappointed with that, that he got away with that. But it is what it is."

Carpenter, when told about Montoya's accusations, dismissed them.

"I figured he'd be miffed. I was sick of him because he was lagging back. If he wants to talk to me about it, I'll be happy to talk to him. He ended up finishing third, right? So it doesn't matter."

The 600 kilometer (372 mile) race began with Marco Andretti on a mission, heading three-wide into Turn Two, heading toward the front from his 17th-place start. Just a few laps later, Andretti's night ended in flames as his Honda engine expired in spectacular fashion. He escaped unharmed, but visibly frustrated.

Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais got tangled up when Bourdais checked up to avoid a car in front of him, and Wilson had too big a run to avoid him. Wilson ended up against the outside Turn Four wall, while Bourdais slid to the inside.

The third caution was on Lap 241, when Takuma Sato's Honda engine blew up. Though it didn't catch fire, it did set the stage for what Montoya compared to a green-white-checkered finish.

Power leads the Verizon IndyCar points standings by 39 over Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.

Complete finishing order:

1    Ed Carpenter Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka   (Ed Carpenter)
2    Will Power Verizon   (Roger Penske)
3    Juan Pablo Montoya Verizon   (Roger Penske)
4    Simon Pagenaud Lucas Oil   (Schmidt Peterson Hamilton)
5    Scott Dixon Target   (Chip Ganassi)
6    Tony Kanaan Suave Professionals For Men / Target   (Chip Ganassi)
7    Mikhail Aleshin SMP Bank   (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)
8    Helio Castroneves AAA   (Roger Penske)
9    Ryan Briscoe NTT Data   (Chip Ganassi)
10    Charlie Kimball NovoLog FlexPen   (Chip Ganassi)
11    Josef Newgarden Strike USA   (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing)
12    Graham Rahal National Guard   (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)
13    Carlos Munoz Cinsay / AndrettiTV.com   (Andretti-HVM)
14    James Hinchcliffe United Fiber & Data   (Andretti Autosport)
15    Jack Hawksworth Integrity Energee Drink  (BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian)
16    Carlos Huertas Cafe de Colombia   (Dale Coyne)
17    Sebastian Saavedra Automatic Fire Sprinklers   (KVAFS Racing)
18    Takuma Sato ABC Supply Co.   (A.J. Foyt)
19    Ryan Hunter-Reay DHL   (Andretti Autosport)
20    Sebastien Bourdais Hydroxycut   (KVSH Racing)
21    Justin Wilson Boy Scouts of America   (Dale Coyne)
22    Marco Andretti Snapple   (Andretti Autosport)


Janine, aka Lisa or LJ, Cloud, a fifth-generation Texan, lives in Houston and considers Texas Motor Speedway her home track.

She's been a part of the Skirts and Scuffs team since May 2011, going from contributor to media rep, photographer, and associate editor covering both NASCAR and the Verizon IndyCar Series. Janine considers it a privilege to represent the site at the track and to share with readers the excitement of the world of motorsports.




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