Carpenter admits to unknowns after Texas track revisions

IndyCar’s only fulltime team owner/driver Ed Carpenter says he’s "nervous" that his team’s traditionally strong showing at Texas Motor Speedway may have been affected by the significant track alterations since last year’s race.

Carpenter admits to unknowns after Texas track revisions
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Race winner Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet takes the win
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Race action

As well as an improved drainage system, the TMS project consisted of a repave of the racing surface and pitlane, re-profiling Turns 1 and 2 to make them 20 feet wider and a lowering of the banking from 24 to 20 degrees.

Carpenter, who won the race in 2014, stated: “If I’m nervous about one thing it’s that the track had been pretty similar for the last handful of years and we were prepared and had a good car. Now it’s a bit of a reset.

“We think we know where it’s going, but we’re all re-learning this new track and defining what it will take to be successful. I think we’re still learning that a little bit, because you test but it’s always different when you get into a real race situation.

“The track is absolutely different. The reshaping of Turns 1 and 2, with the width and the change in banking, definitely make the track more challenging to get the balance the same from Turns 1 and 2 to 3 and 4.”

The mid-April test, according to Carpenter, had suggested the new track surface didn’t create anything like the amount of tire degradation caused by the old granite-based asphalt surface.

“I think the biggest unknown is what the tires are going to do over the stint in a race situation,” he commented. “Tire degradation was the biggest factor, and it did make for good racing but it was a different type of racing. It’s what Texas became known for early on.

“I expect it tighten up from what we saw at the test. The tire degradation wasn’t near as much. That could change if it’s a lot warmer, but I expect it to be less strung out of a race. I think the pace and the tempo will be higher from green flag to checkered flag. As it had gotten, we were dealing with a lot of drop-off. [When] you took tires you could really lose or gain a lot of ground.

“So I think it will be a tighter event with everyone on similar strategies.”

Regarding the format of the weekend, Carpenter said that he welcomed that at least remaining the same as last year.

“Generally, you don’t see people doing any race running during the first practice [75 minutes on Friday morning], but just getting things sorted out for qualifying [2.15pm Friday]. The night practice [5.45-6.15pm Friday] turns into the race practice. As much as the track has changed, the format has stayed the same so we at least we know where we’re going in that respect.”

The 248-lap Rain Guard Water Sealers 600 is set to begin at 7.45pm Central Time on Saturday, with ambient temperatures during the day of 90degF. Support events include the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on the Friday evening and Stadium Super Trucks after the IndyCar race.

 

shares
comments
Vautier gets surprise call-up for Coyne in Texas

Previous article

Vautier gets surprise call-up for Coyne in Texas

Next article

Texas IndyCar: Dixon fastest in opening practice

Texas IndyCar: Dixon fastest in opening practice
Load comments
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021