Vision, Panther Racing Duo Look to End Season on High Note September 30, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – This Saturday’s Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway marks the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season finale, but more significantly for Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter and his Panther Racing teammate Dan Wheldon, it represents an opportunity to take care of unfinished business left at Kentucky Speedway in September.
It was Kentucky that saw Carpenter put his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka sponsored Dallara/Honda/Firestone car on the pole position for the first time in his career and in the team’s six-season history in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Carpenter went on to lead 11 laps in that race and finish second for the second-consecutive year while Wheldon drove the No. 4 National Guard car to a third place finish after leading an impressive 93 laps.
Carpenter and Wheldon’s podium finishes at Kentucky marked the best finish amongst teammates in the 13-year history of Panther Racing and it was Vision Racing’s best effort in six seasons as well. And, it came as little surprise in the paddock as strong runs have accompanied any race the pair has entered together this year.
Carpenter has run in the top-five in each of his three starts this year and whenever Wheldon has Carpenter as a teammate, he’s finished on the podium with a pair of second places finishes at Indianapolis and Chicagoland to go along with the third place finish at Kentucky.
Needless to say, Carpenter and Wheldon hope that their best together will come last in this Saturday’s season-ending IZOD IndyCar Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Carpenter has put in some strong drives at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a fifth place finish in 2008 and a sixth place finish in 2007. Last year Carpenter started from the fourth position and even moved to as high as third but eventually finished in the 12th spot. Vision Racing has additional top-ten finishes to add to that and some momentum on their side this year as well. Now Carpenter looks to put the Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka special in victory lane for the first time in his career and in team history.
Partnering again with Panther Racing should serve both Carpenter and Vision Racing well as Panther has scored two victories at Homestead in 2001 and 2002 with former driver Sam Hornish Jr. In addition, Wheldon set an IZOD IndyCar Series record with three consecutive victories there in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
The combination of Panther’s No. 4 entry and Wheldon have made a total of 15 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway and earned a total of five race victories, three pole positions, seven podium, nine Top Five and 11 Top Ten finishes. In that span, Panther has led a total of 343 laps and Wheldon has paced the field a total of 368 times, giving the combo an impressive total of 711 laps led together.
Carpenter and the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka special will join his teammate, Wheldon and the No. 4 National Guard machine on Friday, Oct. 1st as practice begins at 1:30 p.m. for the 200-lap event. The Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will be broadcast live on VERSUS at 6 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Oct. 2nd with additional coverage on IMS Radio Network, www.indycar.com, XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka:
”I am looking forward to this weekend’s race at Homestead. It is always a very challenging track, which I like as a driver. We tested here on Monday, and had a very productive test, so I feel confident heading into the weekend. I think we have another great chance to deliver Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka and Panther Racing a victory that we all have been working so hard for. It is also important for all of us to finish the season strong. It makes the off season so much easier when you end on a high note. So that’s the plan!”
Dan Wheldon, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda:
”The Homestead-Miami weekend is almost like a home race for me, being in my home state of Florida. It’s a track where both myself and Panther Racing have had a lot of success in the past, but we’re living in the present, and we’re coming off a lot of momentum from the past three IZOD IndyCar Series races. My teammate Ed (Carpenter) tested here this week with the Fuzzy’s Vodka team and it went very well, and it seems like every race that he joins the National Guard boys we seem to go even stronger. So we’re all excited that he’s back. It is the final race of the season, but for us it’s an opportunity to get into Victory Lane. While there’s still a championship to be decided, it’s important for us to have a good weekend and hopefully score our first victory for the National Guard.”