By: Tanner Watkins
May 27, 2019 | 12:00 PM
The stage was set for Ed Carpenter to pounce and pick up a highly-anticipated victory in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. After struggling on a late race restart, the wait will continue for one of the most popular drivers in the paddock.
Starting on the front row for the third straight year, Carpenter’s 2019 Indianapolis 500 started strong by settling into the top three positions for much of the race’s first three quarters.
Trying to save fuel and keep with the leaders, Carpenter felt he was in a strong position to challenge for the win in the closing stages. For the final 14-lap dash, Carpenter was caught out by an imbalance with his No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet.
“We were trying to just play the game. At the end, we just didn’t have anything,” said a dejected Carpenter post-race. “I got loose for the first time in the day, which was a little weird. I just didn’t really seem to be running that quick.
“I thought sitting P3 that last restart was going to be a good opportunity, but on the start I just couldn’t get it rolling. It just didn’t have anything. I am pretty disappointed for myself and for the team.”
Carpenter noted how the track actually seemed to grip-up as the race progressed, despite rising temperatures in both the ambient and track surface categories. The added grip, though, did not seem to aid the 38-year-old veteran.
“I thought it gripped-up, for the most part, as it went on, but the balance kind of changed around,” Carpenter explained. “I don’t know; I really don’t know what to make of it because we were so bad at the end compared to what we had been.”
The owner-driver was one of ten drivers to lead during the day, pacing the field for a total of seven laps. While a sixth-place finish is certainly respectable, Carpenter made it clear that the result he earned yesterday was far from acceptable.
The only solace gleaned from the Chevrolet driver was the fact that a Honda-powered entry did not win the race.
“I’m happy Chevrolet won with Simon (Pagenaud) and Mr. Penske. I didn’t really want to see a Honda win this race,” noted Carpenter. “So I’m happy to see them win, but I didn’t come here for sixth. We just didn’t have the speed that we’d had at the end of the day, for some reason.
“I’m happy for the month the team had, don’t get me wrong, but sixth is a failure to me.”
Header image by Matt Fraver/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.