Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Carpentier Previews Infineon Raceway/Save Mart 350

What are your thoughts heading into this weekend’s race at Infineon Raceway?

“I am really excited about this opportunity and about being in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. I get to drive for NAPA in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Montreal as well. Now to drive in Sonoma, I feel like I am becoming a part of the NAPA family. For me to drive the car for Michael Waltrip, who is a legend in NASCAR, is amazing. I am extremely happy about all of this. I really couldn’t believe it when I got the call to drive for Michael. I am looking forward to it and will do my best to make the most of this experience.”

Now that you have been to Michael Waltrip Racing, what do you think about the equipment you have access to especially since you are no stranger to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series?

“For me, it is one of the most well organized race teams I have seen. From entering the entrance which is like a Hall of Fame … the theater … the sponsor presentations … and then walk past and enter the shop, it is the perfect shop to prepare world-class cars. It is truly impressive. I am excited. The guys asked me what I needed from setting up the pedals to the seat. They were willing to adjust based on what I wanted and what I thought. It is really great. I know the organization has really been coming on strong lately – especially with the finishes at Charlotte and Pocono. It’s impressive so far. I think I am coming in at the right time.”

You’ve had just a little time with crew chief Bootie Barker and the team to get acclimated. What is your goal for this weekend?

“I need to get as many points as possible. I want to run up front and battle with the leaders. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Once we get there, we’ll have to get to work since we did not have the time to test the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. Fortunately, Marcos has been in the car and I’ll have a chance to exchange information with him so I think we’ll be fine. I’ve met with Bootie and he’s been pretty straight forward with me. We seem to see eye to eye so hopefully, we’ll run well. I would really like to run well for Bootie, Michael and NAPA. I feel like I have the most support I have ever had so I think it is going to fun. And then there’s Toyota. What more can you ask for?”

What are your impressions of the COT?

“The car is definitely different. Funny enough, on a road course, I have always liked driving this car. I remember the first year at Watkins Glen, I had the COT and I also drove a Nationwide car. Once I got into the COT, I thought it had a tremendous amount of power. I really enjoyed driving it. I know some people have called it a flying brick, but I look at it as more of a rental car on steroids. That’s what it is to me and the guys have told me to drive it like I stole it. That’s what I am going to do and just see what happens.”

Patrick Carpentier Fast Facts
  • Patrick Carpentier will be driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota in the Toyota/Save Mart 350. He will be competing in his 28th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when the 16th event of the 2009 Sprint Cup season, the Toyota/Save Mart 350, gets underway at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
  • Carpentier has competed in one event at Infineon Raceway and it occurred last season. He started 37th and finished 23rd. He has completed 112 of 112 laps (100%) at the 1.99-mile track.
  • In his NASCAR Sprint Cup career, Carpentier has a total of three road-course racing starts. Besides the 2008 Infineon event, he has participated in two Watkins Glen International races which equated to two top-25 results. Last year’s event, he finished 20th-place.
  • Carpentier’s NASCAR Nationwide Series career statistics at road courses are impressive with five starts. He has earned one pole (2007 Montreal), three top-five (second – 2007 Montreal, fifth – 2008 Mexico City and second – 2008 Montreal) and five top-20 finishes (19th – 2007 Watkins Glen, 22nd – 2008 Watkins Glen).
  • Entering this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry is 30th in the driver and owner standings. The team is just 107 points out of the top 25 in the championship standings. The team is guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday’s race.

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