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Indy 500: Carpentier takes over Dragon #20, crashes

Veteran ChampCar driver Patrick Carpentier has shown up in the Dragon Racing garage and taken over driving duties on Scott Speed's #20 - only to put it into the wall.
Drama and confusion surrounded the unexpected return of veteran Canadian ChampCar driver Patrick Carpentier to Indianapolis.

When practice for today's Bump Day started, Carpentier was listed as the driver of the #20 - previously driven by American driver Scott Speed.

There were intense rumours at the end of Friday that Speed and the Dragon team had had a massive falling out over their Indy 500 campaign leading to furious rows and Speed apparently storming out of the team.

Speed denied that he had left the team and ran in Saturday morning practice, but did not carry out any qualifying runs in the afternoon. His team mate, Ho-Pin Tung, did run but crashed on his qualifying attempt and has been diagnosed with a mild concussion that means he is not cleared to drive for the rest of the weekend.

Then on Sunday morning, Carpentier showed up and got into the #20, while Speed watched on from the pit wall.

It seems that rather than Speed having left the team, Carpentier has come in as a consultant to help the #20 crew sort out their set-up problems that left them in last place in the final practice session on Friday with no hope of qualifying for the Indy 500, which would have caused pressure from team sponsors who were expecting their brands to be placed in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

It's also possible that Carpentier is being lined up to replace Tung in a qualifying run in a rebuilt #8. If Carpentier were able to qualify the car for Tung, the Chinese driver would still be able to race on Sunday if the team wanted, albeit from the back of the grid for a driver substitution.

Either way, the team's woes have increased after Carpentier promptly planted the #20 into the wall when on his 25th lap in the morning practice session, which halted the session. Carpentier was able to climb out but was described as looking woozy as he did so, having taken a very hard hit.

Charlie Kimball was quickest for Chip Ganassi's junior team in the morning practice, followed by Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal, all with speeds above 226mph as they attempt to make the grid and then survive "bumping" during the rest of the day.



Related Pictures

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Patrick Carpentier joins Dragon Racing for Bump Day on Sunday, May 22 - but promptly crashes the #20. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Patrick Carpentier takes over the #20 car previously driven by Scott Speed, for a practice run on Bump Day at Indianapolis - Sunday, May 22. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Patrick Carpentier crashes the #20 Dragon Racing car in Sunday morning practice ahead of Indy 500 Bump Day qualification activity on Sunday, May 22 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Charlie Kimball blows up (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Will Power, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
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The 2014 Chevrolet engine of Scott Dixon. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon prepares to take to the track during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on course during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
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chasmunch - Unregistered

May 26, 2011 3:35 PM

Woops! Me thinks Mr. Speed had a little smirk on his face...appears part of his slowness was just as he stated. When asked what was wrong, why lap speeds in the teens...he matter of factly said he could go faster, but to do so would put him into the wall...blamed no one, the car was ill handleing. Stated his team was short on resourses and felt it best to not wreck and ruin his sole car... I love these kinds of stories...a seasoned F1 fast guy gets 2nd guessed, back stabbed, then vidicated. Wow, there is a god...and Speed got to watch it happen, sitting on the pit wall...puuurfect



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