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Jun 08, 2014 - 02:00 PM
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Carpenter Wins Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600
Posted by: newsla on Jun 08, 2014 - 01:57 PM
IndyCar News
Carpenter Wins Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600


Ed Carpenter took advantage of a strong second-half race performance and a critical late pit lane penalty by Will Power to record his first Verizon IndyCar Series victory since 2012 in Saturday night's Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

 

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"Awesome night. I have loved this race track for a long time, but had a lot of bad luck here," Carpenter said. "I have really always wanted to win here so super excited. ... The Fuzzy's car was hooked up by the end. I think we were for sure the car to beat at the end. ... It's great to finally break through here."

Carpenter (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) led 66 of the final 67 laps of the 248-lap event and avoided a potential shootout for the win with the polesitter Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), who was running second when he was caught speeding in pit lane on his final green-flag pit stop. With 36 to go, Carpenter and Power pitted together and came out 1-2, but Power received a drive-thru penalty for speeding and suddenly found himself a lap down.

"Another drive-thru," Power lamented. "That's four drive-thrus in five races. That's not good enough."

With Power, who had a dominant car and led a race-high 145 laps, out of contention, Carpenter inherited a nine-plus second lead over second-place Tony Kanaan (No. 10 Suave For Men Chevrolet) and was coasting to victory with a 18.5-second lead before a final caution came out with seven laps to go.

The top three stayed out - Carpenter, Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) and Kanaan - while Power gambled and came in for tires for a final last-gasp charge. The race became a two-lap shootout and Carpenter was able to stave off Montoya and the the hard-charging Power, who moved from sixth to second and finished 0.52 of a second behind the winner.

"I don't know," said Power, when asked if he could have caught Carpenter without the penalty. "Ed was awfully strong. He's an awesome driver and it would have been a good battle at the end. My car was good at the end of the stint, but I just feel happy that the Verizon car came in second. It was a lot of fun."

The victory was the third of Carpenter's career and his first since winning the 2012 season finale at Fontana. In his previous 12 starts at Texas Motor Speedway, he had just one top-five finish - fourth last year - and led one lap (2009) before breaking through Saturday night to become the first American to win at Texas since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2007.

Montoya finished a season-best third, Simon Pagenaud (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda) was fourth and defending Verizon IndyCar SerIes champion Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet) was fifth.

Power, with his runner-up finish, extended his Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead over Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet), who finished 10th, from 19 to 43 points, 370-327.

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