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Saturday Qualifying Crash Hurts ECR

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Ed Carpenter, Indianapolis 500

Saturday Qualifying Crash Hurts ECR

Tom Blattler
Ed Carpenter Racing
May 19, 2012

Ed Carpenter
May 19th 2012 - INDIANAPOLIS – A difficult day in Saturday’s Indianapolis 500 qualifications for Ed Carpenter Racing became worse when Carpenter’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet hit the turn two wall in a second time trial attempt.

Carpenter’s mount swapped ends in turn two and smacked the outside wall before sliding to a stop on the back straightaway. The 31-year-old Indy driver jumped out of his car and was released from the Infield Medical Center a few minutes later.

While the Fuzzy’s Vodka machine was badly damaged, the ECR crew was already preparing the backup machine in the garage area. Carpenter, looking to start his eighth Indy 500 next Sunday, May 27, will attempted to qualify the team’s backup car Sunday in the final day of qualifications set to begin at noon.

Carpenter’s first timed effort Saturday clocked a four-lap average of 220.377 miles per hour as the team owner/driver was disappointed in his car’s handling and returned to the ECR garage area for adjustments with the car. The high 80s temperatures provided slippery track conditions in the mid-afternoon as Carpenter made practice runs.

After several laps near 223 MPH, ECR put the No. 20 car back in the qualifying line in an effort to gain a top-24 starting position in the 33-driver lineup. However, after a warm-up lap, Carpenter went full-throttle into turn one, but, by turn two, the Fuzzy’s Vodka car lost grip and slid backwards into the turn two wall. The No. 20T car will be prepared tonight for Sunday’s 9 a.m. one-hour practice and the noon qualifications.

“This car was really inconsistent today,” said Carpenter after the incident. “It was slow and inconsistent in my first qualifying run. It was loose and sliding around. We made some changes in practice before the second qualifying attempt. Then the thing got loose again so I really don’t know about our setup. We have had difficulty figuring out this new car. It’s a strange car to get just right. I was trying to qualify for the Indy 500 so I wasn’t going to lift (off the throttle). I’ll do the same thing tomorrow to make this race. If I crash another car, then I crash another car. It’s just very frustrating for me right now. But we’ll rebuild the backup car and be ready to go on Sunday. It will be a long night for the Fuzzy’s Vodka guys. It’s not the position we wanted to be in right now. But it has to be done.”

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