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Carpenter Improves Speed in Long Beach Practice after Rough Start

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

Carpenter Improves Speed in Long Beach Practice after Rough Start

Tom Blattler
Ed Carpenter Racing
April 19, 2013

Ed Carpenter Racing
April 19th 2013 - LONG BEACH, Calif. – Ed Carpenter came back to Southern California for the first time since his sensational Auto Club Speedway 500-mile win last September in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet Friday for the first round practice of the famed Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The IZOD IndyCar Series’ only team owner and driver hit the streets of Long Beach Friday for opening practice sessions at the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit around the Long Beach Arena and Convention Center near the Long Beach harbor. Carpenter is competing in the third stop on the 19-race campaign for Sunday’s 80-lap main event.

The Indianapolis racer wasn’t pleased with his racing machine’s handling in the morning practice runs, as the Butler University grad recorded a speed of 98.072 miles per hour. Carpenter complained that his Chevrolet-powered mount suffered from an “understeer” problem throughout the 45-minute session.

However, the Ed Carpenter Racing engineering staff led by Matt Barnes worked with driving consultant Lee Bentham and Carpenter to assist the Fuzzy’s car’s steering problem and the afternoon practice round saw a speed improvement. The 32-year-old father of three recorded a top speed of 98.847 m.p.h.

Qualifying for the 39th annual Grand Prix of Long Beach is set for 2 p.m. PDT Saturday with the feature event scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m. PDT Sunday. The 80-lap Grand Prix will be televised live on NBC Sports Network.

“It was an interesting day for us,” said Carpenter. “In the first session, we just weren’t very good. We had ‘understeer’ a lot of places. We didn’t unload the car where we needed to be. In the second practice, we were a lot better with Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy. It was a disjointed session and very hard to string laps together with the many red flags. The car was much better but I’m still trying to figure it out for much of the session. The time sheet doesn’t really look good but I feel much better about the car going into Saturday’s runs. We still have gotten more laps today than we didn’t last year on Friday. With the rain last year, Friday was a complete washout.”

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