Ed Carpenter showed Texas they may need to rethink their ‘Lone Star State’ slogan as the IndyCar Series made its second trip to the oval at the Texas Motor Speedway.
From the start of the race it was obvious the result was going to be tight, only two other drivers shared the lead with the Ed Carpenter Racing Owner/Driver. They were Team Penske drivers Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya.
It was Power who scooped the Verizon P1 Award for pole position and he was in a good position till late on when he was running sixth. A strong call by team strategist Tim Cindric to pit for new tyres under the final yellow flag period saw the Australian finish in a very respectable second.
It wasn’t looking good for Carpenter going into the race, he had only led one lap on his previous visits to the Motor Speedway with a best finish of fourth. It appeared again that going into lap 242 of 248, he would be mugged of his victory but a clash between Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais in turn four brought out the yellows and a reprieve for Carpenter.
The race on the whole was relatively clean considering the notoriety of oval racing overall. There were only two other yellow flags, for Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato, who both suffered engine failures on the high banked oval.
Back to the action and Montoya, who led on and off, rounded out the podium to cap off a solid day for him but will be thinking what might have been if he could have had the luck go his way.
A man who made a smart decision to make another stop to make sure he had fresh rubber coming off the last restart was Simon Pagenaud. The Frenchman finished a solid fourth place whilst his Schmidt Peterson team mate Mikhail Aleshin pulled off some moves belying his rookie status, the Russian finished seventh in only his second oval race.
Helio Castroneves will have hoped he could have had Aleshin’s moves, last years winner here in the Lone Star State had to settle for eighth.
The next race for the IndyCar paddock is still in Texas, when the paddock takes on the double header at Houston on June 28th and 29th.