Carpentier exceeds expectations

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 PM ET

BROOKLYN, Mich. — When Patrick Carpentier climbed into the No. 26 Latitude 43 Motorsports Ford on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway the bar wasn’t set very high.

In fact veteran crew chief Frankie Stoddard said all the team wanted out of the 39-year-old Canadian pilot was a finish in the Top 35 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Carfax 400.

Well Carpentier, of Joliett, Que., did that and more.

With a 29th-place finish he took the team into the top 35 in points for the first time this season.

“That was a spectacular day for us,” Stoddard said. “Pat is very good at describing what’s going on with the car. And today he ran pretty smooth.”

For Carpentier it was a tough welcome back to NASCAR Sprint Cup oval racing in the heat of August. With track temperatures in the high 40sC all afternoon at MIS he said it was a physical challenge.

“My neck is sore, my bum is sore and my arms are sore,” he said when he got out of the car at the end of the race. “I forgot just how hard these (Sprint Cup) cars are to drive and how you have to battle every lap.”

The surprising thing was that Carpentier was fastest at the end of the race, turning laps that were equal or close to times being run by top 20 teams.

“I have to say just how good this team was (on Sunday),” Carpentier said.

For a small team they never gave up. And Frankie was so good on the (pit) box.”

The chemistry between Carpentier and the team was so good in fact, that there is a possibility that the Canadian could resume a full-time Sprint Cup ride in the No. 26 Ford.

“We have had discussions,” he said.

“For sure I will race in Atlanta next month. But for me it I was very impressed with how these guys operate.”

The compliments were of equal value coming the other way.

Stoddard said that the team has had its eye on Carpentier since last season when he was driving the No. 10 Dodge for Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

“Looking back at what he did at Evernham, I knew he could wheel a race car,” Stoddard said. “I thought he’d done a pretty darn good job for them.”

And after Sunday’s performance, on top of his 21st-place finish a week ago at Watkins Glen, Stoddard was even more impressed.

“We wouldn’t have put him in the car if we didn’t think he could do the job,” he said.


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