With IndyCar fans and enthusiasts watching, an unlikely driver stepped into Victory Lane after the season-ending race at California’s Auto Club Speedway.
Ed Carpenter’s win of the MavTV 500 was the second of his IndyCar career and the second consecutive in the last race of the series’ season.
“This feels great,” Carpenter said. “A good way to end the year.”
Dario Franchitti finished second in the race and Scott Dixon was third. Carpenter’s break came in the final moments of the race, when he saw the opportunity to pass Franchitti as the white flag signaling the final lap waved overhead.
“I thought that maybe that was going to be my last chance to get by him (Franchitti),” Carpenter recalled. “He just kept protecting the bottom… I finally got close enough to get a draft and get a run around him on the front stretch.”
Franchitti said there was nothing he could do to hold off the eventual race winner. Franchitti had a small advantage as the two raced for the checkered flag. He said his car started to push toward the outside of the track and “it was either take us both out and wreck us both or take left.” Franchitti opted to take the left path, allowing Carpenter to pass for the lead.”
“Ed just got a big run. He drove a great race. I can’t take anything away from him,” Franchitti said, adding that is the way racing is. “Almost isn’t quite good enough.”
Carpenter, who started the team last November, said, “We’ve been trying to win ovals all year and finally got it done tonight. I probably should have won Indy (500) but I kind of messed up a little bit.”