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Carpenter Shaves Two Seconds off Lap Time for Qualifying

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Ed Carpenter, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Carpenter Shaves Two Seconds off Lap Time for Qualifying

Tom Blattler
Ed Carpenter Racing
April 14, 2012

Ed Carpenter
April 14th 2012 - Ed Carpenter was pleased with his team’s progress Saturday in qualifications at the 38th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, as the owner/driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet placed 23rd in time trials for Sunday’s main event.

Carpenter, only in his third start as an owner/driver in the IZOD IndyCar Series, shaved over two seconds off his Saturday morning practice time with a clocking of one minute, 11.4519 seconds in the opening qualifying round at the 1.9-mile street circuit Saturday.

With rain showers in the majority of Friday’s practice, track time was critical for the 26-driver field Saturday in dry conditions. It was similar to the Barber Motorsports Park weekend when rain hurt the competitors on Friday two weeks ago.

“It was a tough day, similar to Barber,” Carpenter said after qualifying. “It rained on Friday there too and we had fog on Saturday morning there. Here, it rained Friday and we had a lot of yellow flags this morning. That is a little frustrating. But we made the car better for qualifying.”

Due to the lack of track time on Friday, the Ed Carpenter Racing team was seeking as many laps as possible as they prepared for Sunday’s feature set to begin at 1:15 p.m. The Grand Prix will be televised live Sunday beginning at 12:30 PDT on the NBC Sports Network.

“We went out early in the first qualifying session to get a clean lap,” Carpenter said. “With the track getting better with each run, it might have hurt our lap time a bit by going early. We made good changes and improvements through qualifying. We just wanted to get as many laps as we could in qualifying since we didn’t get many laps in practice. I was happy with our time considering the lack of track time this weekend. We need to make a few more changes for Sunday and get on a proper strategy for the race. It felt good to see the sun today. It’s much more like a Long Beach day.”

Ryan Briscoe was the fastest qualifier Saturday in the Team Penske Chevrolet, but the Australian driver will not start first in Sunday’s Grand Prix. Due to a mechanical issue with all Chevrolet engines on Thursday, eleven Chevrolet-powered teams were forced to change the engines for this weekend’s racing. This new engine application gave all the Chevrolet-powered cars a 10-position penalty for the race due to INDYCAR rules that prohibits an engine change before 1,200 miles. Thus, Briscoe will start 11th in Sunday’s race. The complete starting lineup will be determined after Sunday’s morning warm-up session.

The large crowd Saturday at Long Beach saw a variety of activities on and off the track including the Fuzzy’s Vodka display in the IZOD IndyCar Series Fan Village. Carpenter made appearances at the Team Chevy display and the Fuzzy’s Vodka presentation during the race weekend. Off the track, Ed participated as a celebrity bartender at Legend’s Sports Bar in Long Beach as well as competing in a celebrity charity go-kart event.

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