Ed Carpenter has admitted that he could not wait to put the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach behind him after another disappointing street race performance from the #20 Vision Racing entry.
Carpenter ran as high as third place in the 85-lap race, but the position was deceiving as he benefited from a different pit strategy to his rivals, and two incidents of contact eventually ruled out any decent result as the bright yellow Menards-backed car came home 18th overall.
An incident on lap 39 saw Carpenter nose-first into the tyre barrier, recovery costing him three vital laps as he returned to the pits for a front wing change. Unfortunately, that was not the end of his woe, for the #20 endured a few further brushes with trouble, including getting a little off course after an encounter with another car on lap 60, and resulting in slight contact with Vision team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay.
"It was a pretty painful day to be honest," the veteran admitted, "I made a huge mistake in St Pete and I really wanted to make up for that by running a very smart, clean race here in Long Beach. I didn't do that at all and made some terrible mistakes. I'm really disappointed with myself."
Carpenter has rarely been a threat on road and street courses, but his oval form made him an underdog in several races last season, and he admits that he is looking forward to returning to Kansas Speedway this weekend.
"I'm going to really have to reset my mindset and get ready for Kansas," he conceded, "but we ran really well there last year and we'll head there with some confidence. I have some making up to do to the team."
Team-mate Hunter-Reay was also disappointed after Long Beach, having been unable to repeat the sort of showing that led to second overall in the season-opener in St Petersburg.
From twelfth on the grid, he battled strong understeer and a wild rear-end for the majority of the race but, thanks to solid pit strategy, managed to run as high as third in the reliveried William Rast-sponsored entry. Although he remained in the top ten for a great deal of the race, the ill-handling car became too much with three laps to run and, as Hunter-Reay fought to keep it pointed forward at full speed, he was passed by both Robert Doornbos and Alex Tagliani to eventually finish in eleventh.
"It was just a long day," he sighed, "We did some cheap fixes to the car to make it good over new tyres, which might have been good for qualifying but wore the rear tyres off way too quick, and that left us a sitting duck at the end of the stint.
"You've just got to get through and get on with it. We didn't have a good car here, but the guys did a great job with the stops and we brought it home - I should have hit the wall about 35 times and the car is coming back in one piece. But it just wasn't our day. We were slow again on the straights and I wasn't getting any kind of run on anybody and we couldn't draft. I don't know why that was the case, but we'll have to look at it before Kansas. It's a big concern."