Carpenter Rues ‘Rookie Mistake’, Takes Home Top Five Finish in Indianapolis 500

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Credit: Matt Fraver/NTT IndyCar Series

Ed Carpenter finished fifth in the 2021 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, and the only driver/owner on the grid felt it was a great result baring in mind he stalled during his first pit stop, an error he felt was a ‘rookie mistake’.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver had started fourth and was embroiled in the battle at the front in the early laps, only to lose ground when he stalled as he exited his pit stall, with the time lost moving him towards the back of the pack.

He showed good speed and made up ground to his rivals and was catching the leading quartet when the chequered flag fell, leaving him just 1.2424 seconds away from the victory.

“On my first stop, I made a rookie mistake of stalling the car so we dug ourselves a hole,” said Carpenter.  “The No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet boys kicked ass today in the pits and with the strategy. This one is all them.

“The car was good, but it was tough deep in the pack. It was great to be able to get back to the fight at the end and get a Top 5. From how it was looking earlier in the day, to take home a Top 5 isn’t a bad day.”

Acknowledging the pain in watching a rival take victory in a race where he was so competitive, at least Carpenter can take solace in the fact that Helio Castroneves, at forty-six years of age, is older than him gives him motivation that he can come back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for years to come and fight for that elusive maiden Indy 500 victory.

“It does still hurt losing this race and watching someone else celebrate,” admits Carpenter.  “I am happy for Helio (Castroneves) – he is even older than me so it gives me hope still that I will keep coming back and chasing this thing!”

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