Carpenter Captures First Win
October 2, 2011 | 4:38 P.M. EST
Carpenter won the sixth-closest race in IZOD IndyCar Series history and the closest ever at Kentucky Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)
Ed Carpenter was thankful he had one Honda push to pass available on the final lap of the Kentucky Indy 300.
The extra horsepower boost was crucial in the Sarah Fisher Racing driver's 22-lap duel with Dario Franchitti, and most important as he exiting Turn 4 of the 1.5-mile oval side-by-side with the IZOD IndyCar Series championship front-runner.
He pushed the button and pushed the No. 67 Dollar General car to the start/finish line to edge Franchitti by 0.0098 of a second -- the sixth-closest race in IZOD IndyCar Series and the closest ever at Kentucky Speedway.
"Dario raced me hard and clean," Carpenter said. "I knew we had the better car but in the second or third step. It was weird race because my visor was falling off in one of the steps and we had all sorts of stuff going on, the team made changes all day to the car...just an awesome day for the Dollar General, Angie's List, Fuzzy's Vodka and everyone involved."
Scott Dixon finish third to wrap up the A.J. Foyt Oval Trophy and rooklie James Hinchcliffe was fourth. Ryan Hunter-Reay, the winner at the last oval race (New Hampshire Motor Speedway in mid-August) finished fifth.
Will Power, who entered the penultimate race of the season with an 11-point lead over Franchitti, started from the pole. But contact with the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car driven by Ana Beatriz on pit lane on Lap 49 put a gash in the left sidepod of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car.
"Nothing we could do about that one (pit road incident)," Power said. "We lost 4 mph with the hole in the side of the car. Guys had done such a good job with the car, we had the fastest car on the track, best car I've ever had on an oval. Handling was still there, just no speed."
Power had to pit twice more and fell back to 23rd -- the last car on the lead lap. He soldiered on and finished 19th, but is 18 points behind Franchitti entering the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda.