After coming to blows in Saturday night’s 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600, Robert Wickens and Ed Carpenter have spoken about the incident, which ended both of their races early. The pair made contact whilst Wickens was attempting to put Carpenter a lap down, with Ed holding his hands up and taking responsibility for the clash post-race.
Wickens had been having a sensational first race at Texas Motor Speedway. After qualifying a superb fourth place, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver had made up places and led the race for thirty-one laps before dropping back during a pit-stop sequence.
Robert was still up in contention as the race entered it’s closing stages, but the rookie’s hopes of a strong finished were dashed on lap 173 of 248. Whilst negotiating lapped traffic, Wickens lost time after being held up by the #19 car of Zachary Claman De Melo. This allowed Ed Carpenter, who had already been lapped by Wickens, to un-lap himself and get back by.
Wickens, however, did not want Carpenter to stay ahead of him for very long. Ed was still lapping slower than Robert, so the Canadian tried to make a move on the inside into turn three. Carpenter, however, came down the race track to try and defend the position, but Wickens was already alongside him. The pair would make contact on the entry into the turn, with both being sent spinning up into the outside wall; ending both drivers races there and then.
Thankfully, both drivers were uninjured in the accident, but Wickens was livid with the outcome of what had been a hugely promising race. After the race, Robert would bemoan not just Carpenter, but various other drivers who had been a lap down, believing that they had been driving dangerously.
“I think [some cars were] being really desperate,” Wickens stated, “trying to do whatever they can, I guess, to be racing. [Zachary Claman] De Melo in front of me was being so dangerous and that’s how [Ed] Carpenter got by me.
“Ed made a mistake. I went to his inside. I don’t know if his spotter didn’t tell him I was there, but he just turned in and we had contact and went up into the wall. I mean, it sucks.
“We were so strong the whole night. Things were going so smoothly we were getting the fuel mileage. I don’t know, I’m just frustrated. I mean when you’re driving around slower cars, they’re getting blue flags every time at start-finish – they’re getting blue flags and they ignore every single one of them. We shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place, but it just sucks. We had such a good car.”
After climbing from his #20 Chevrolet, Carpenter would use the post-race interviews to take responsibility for the crash and to apologise for ending Robert’s race. He then went on to say that he and the team would perform much better in his next on-track appearance at Iowa next month.
“It was a mistake. I knew Robbie [Robert Wickens] was coming. I thought I could close the door, but it was a big mistake on my part.” said Carpenter. “He was a lead lap car. We were having a bad day, we just didn’t have it this weekend. We just could never get the balance right where it needed to be.
“I made it worse by making a mistake like that so, my apologies to him. I know it doesn’t mean much now. I feel bad for those guys. I feel bad for my guys. The night certainly didn’t need to end like this. It’s a mistake on me, and I’ll have to come back and get ’em in Iowa.”
The next race of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series, the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America, will take place on Sunday, June 24.