Carpenter Holds On To Win IndyCar Race At Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Car owner Ed Carpenter now drives his car only on ovals. He does it well.
Carpenter won the IndyCar Series race on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, staying in front of Will Power during a two-lap shootout after a late caution.
On the final green-flag stop with 35 laps left, Carpenter beat polesitter and season points leader Power off pit road. Team Penske driver Power made things worse when he was penalized for speeding out of the pits.
Power was sixth, and Carpenter had a lead of about 18 seconds over Juan Pablo Montoya, when Takuma Sato’s engine blew and his car caught fire with 10 laps left.
While the top four cars stayed out during that caution, Power went in for fresh tires. That gave him the chance to make up some ground, and he made a big charge after the final restart to finish second, only a half-second back.
Carpenter led 90 of the 248 laps to get his third career victory, his second since starting his own team in 2012. All have come on ovals.
The Indianapolis 500 polesitter this year and last, Carpenter won at Kentucky for Sarah Fisher Racing in 2011. He won the 2012 finale at California for his own team and now has a victory at the high-banked 1 1/2-mile Texas track.
Two weeks after a late accident with James Hinchcliffe at the Brickyard ended any possibility of winning, Carpenter was back in the cockpit for the oval. Mike Conway drives his car on road and street courses, including a win at Long Beach in the second race this season.
Carpenter went to the high side to get around Power on lap 182, and within a lap had already pushed ahead by nearly a second. Power led 145 laps.
Montoya finished third, ahead of Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan – the only drivers to finish on the lead lap. Helio Castroneves, the defending race winner and a four-time winner at Texas, was 10th.
The race was 20 laps longer than last year when Castroneves won. At the end of 228 laps, the length of the 2013 race, Carpenter had a 13 1/2-second lead over Montoya.
Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, the Dallas-born driver who has said he “definitely, desperately” wants to win at Texas, had another tough weekend and only finished 135 laps before losing power and oil pressure.
Since winning at Indy, the Andretti Motorsport driver Hunter-Reay finished 16th and 19th at the dual races in Detroit and was also 19th at Texas.
Marco Andretti, his teammate, finished last in the 22-car field after his own mechanical issues.
Andretti started 17th and quickly moved into the top 10 after three laps before his engine blew and the car caught fire while he was trying to get back into the pits. He had to stop on the apron out of Turn 4, then hopped out of the car and walked back to his pit box.
“This one’s frustrating and this one really hurts for the championship too,” said Andretti, who entered the weekend fifth in season points, two spots below Hunter-Reay.