Strong run for Canuck

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:19 PM ET

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Patrick Carpentier had no right to be fighting for a top-20 finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International.

Yet there he was at the end of the Helluva Good Sour Cream Dips at the Glen beating and banging with the best NASCAR had to offer in a No. 26 Latitude 43 Racing Ford that so far this season had an average finish of 30th.

And remember this was the first time Carpentier had been in a Sprint Cup car — or any race car for that matter — this year.

Add that to the fact that for the first 20 laps on Sunday his car had a slow leak in the left rear tire that made it almost impossible to move up from his 17th starting position.

“The tire kept going down and down and the car got really loose,” Carpentier said. “Because I hadn’t been in a race car for a while I wasn’t sure what was wrong.”

The team’s effort to make the car better at that point back fired putting Carpentier in even worse position — as far back as 34th at one point — before he recovered to finish 21st.

“We over corrected and made the car too tight. I had to really use up my brakes,” he said. “For the rest of the race, the car was better but the brakes were pretty much gone.”

Carpentier, however, will take the $77,025 US he earned and go home to Montreal satisfied he got the best out of the car.

“You know, in spite of everything, I had a lot of fun out there,” he said. “I would have liked to have finished higher but 21st is pretty good in this series. I brought the car back to garage on one piece and we had fun out there.”

For Ron Fellows, however, he had no such luck.

The veteran driver had to fight an ill-handling car all day long on the seven-turn, 4.03-kilometre track.

He had visions of a top-10 finish at the start of the race but as the track surface heated up, the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet went south.

“We struggled with the handling,” he said. “The track was a lot hotter and I was just flopping around.”

That put Fellows back in traffic where he had to deal with slower and less experienced drivers.

“I ended up racing (Regan Smith), someone you shouldn’t be racing with,” he said. “I gave him all kinds of room and he hit me in the right rear and then in the right front. That ended up snapping the track bar clear off.”

It also ended Fellows race.


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