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Flat Spotted Tire Hurts Carpenter's Chances in Long Beach Sunday

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

Flat Spotted Tire Hurts Carpenter's Chances in Long Beach Sunday

Tom Blattler
Ed Carpenter Racing
April 21, 2013

Ed Carpenter Racing
April 21st 2013 - LONG BEACH, Calif. – Ed Carpenter looked to be set for a solid finishing position in the middle of Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach after fighting his way up the field in the 80-lap feature in the popular 39th edition of the “Roar at the Shore”.

Carpenter piloted the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet from his 23rd starting position to 12th by the 52nd lap and battled the likes of Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti and Tristin Vautier in a spirited race. Ed was turning highly-competitive laps against some of the top IZOD IndyCar Series’ road racers over the rough and bumpy 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit near the Long Beach harbor.

Unfortunately, in an attempt to pass Sebastien Bourdais, Carpenter hit the brakes hard and flat spotted the right front Firestone tire. The wounded tire affected the handling of the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy for the reminder of the race and a solid finish resulted in an 18th place at the checkered flag.

In the last 21 laps, Carpenter had to play a fuel conservation mode with the throttle and his finish wasn’t what he believed his squad could have achieved. However, Ed felt his machine had improved throughout the weekend and is upbeat as the ECR/Fuzzy’s Vodka team prepares for the next race in the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil in two weeks.

The Grand Prix saw a huge crowd in attendance and the sunny skies continued the race’s 39-year history with no rain on race day. One of the world’s most famous street races, the Long Beach event impressed golf legend Fuzzy Zoeller, sponsor of Ed Carpenter Racing with his Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka. Zoeller, a regular at Los Angeles pro golf events, was making his initial showing at the Long Beach classic.

“Wow, they really get a big crowd here and the event is just spectacular,” said Zoller, the 1979 Masters winner. “This is a great experience for the racers, sponsors and fans. I want come back here again.”

Carpenter explained his race was getting better before the tire trouble.

“I think we should have had a better finish today,” said Carpenter. “We had a 10, 11 or 12th place car today. We had a tough first stop, but the car was very good in the middle stint and I did get up to P12. Then later I tried to make a pass on (Sebastien) Bourdais and broke too hard and locked up the right front. The tire was junk after that. So I didn’t have the race car that we had in the middle of the race. We are making progress with the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy but we aren’t getting the results right now. The team working well together and I feel good about going to Brazil.”

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