Newly Designed Pit Road and Ed Carpenter Cap an Emotional Day in Kentucky

Eric SmithCorrespondent IIIOctober 2, 2011

SPARTA, KY - OCTOBER 02:  Ed Carpenter in his #67 Dollar General Sarah Fisher Racing Dallara Honda beats Dario Franchitti, driver of the #10 Downey Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Hinda to the finish line to win the IZOD IndyCar Series Kentucky Indy 300 on October 2, 2011 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Kentucky Speedway moved pit road closer to the stands in the new renovations last winter and spring in anticipation for the inaugural NASCAR race in July.  Little did we know the new pit road would get so much attention in today's Kentucky Indy 300.

There were four pit road incidents today and they involved major front runners including a points champion threat, Will Power.

He led every lap of the way and was the first victim on the first round of pit stops on lap 50.

Ana Beatriz was exiting her pit and her crew released her while current leader Will Power was entering his pit.  The two made contact and put a hole in Power's No. 12 Verizon machine.

Power went on with his pit stop hoping the car would be okay, but he lost a considerable amount of time on the track.  He was four miles per hour slower than before, and under the first yellow on lap 80 Power had to make three stops to repair the damage.  He never was a factor the rest of the way and finished 19th.

The other three incidents came on the same pit stop sequence.

Simona de Silvestro lost control of her No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Honda running down pit road and hit one of E.J. Viso's crew-men. The contact sent two of Viso's tires into the infield grass and brought out the second yellow.

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On the yellow flag stops Marco Andretti was racing Graham Rahal out for fourth place, but Alex Lloyd had to pit and he hit Andretti and forced E.J. Viso to stop and miss his pit.  That ended the day for Andretti, who wound up 25th.

Also, while this was going on rookie J.R. Hildebrand who was having a great day going running fifth at the time misjudged his pit and hit his crewman and the inside pit-wall.  The damage dropped him down a lap and forced him to finish 20th.

Meanwhile Ed Carpenter capped an emotional day in Kentucky.

Carpenter scored his first career win in 114 starts and the first win for team owner Sarah Fisher.

Carpenter beat new points leader Dario Franchitti to the finish line by ten-one thousandths of a second.  That was the closest finish in Kentucky Speedway history and the sixth closest finish in Izod IndyCar Series history.

Carpenter became the 274th winner all time in major open wheel racing history.

Carpenter made a great move on the last restart to pass Scott Dixon for second.  He knew Dixon couldn't run on the bottom so he put his car there and got by.  That led to an intense battle with Dario Franchitti for the last 20 laps.

Second place finisher Dario Franchitti regained the points lead heading into the last race in two weeks at Las Vegas.  Franchitti led a race high 142 laps and now leads Will Power by 18 points.

Scott Dixon finished third and took home the A.J. Foyt Oval Championship by beating teammate Dario Franchitti by 10 points.

Rookie James Hinchcliffe tied his career best finish of fourth and took the lead of the Rookie of the Year standings heading in to Vegas.

Rounding out the top five was Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay.

There were only three yellows on the day with Ana Beatriz being the only on track incident with hard contact with the turn three wall on lap 167.

The Izod IndyCar Series will run the last race of the season on October 16th in the inaugural race in Las Vegas.

You can view the race at 3:00 P.M. Eastern on ABC.

Finishing Order:

1. 67 Ed Carpenter

2. 10 Dario Franchitti

3. 9 Scott Dixon

4. 06 James Hinchcliffe (R)

5. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay

6.  2 Oriol Servia

7. 17 Wade Cunningham (R)

8. 6 Ryan Briscoe

9. 44 Buddy Rice

10. 7 Danica Patrick

11. 22 Townsend Bell

12. 38 Graham Rahal

13. 83 Charlie Kimball (R)

14. 77 Dan Wheldon

15. 5 Takuma Sato

16. 14 Vitor Meira

17. 82 Tony Kanaan

18. 27 Mike Conway

19. 12 Will Power

20. 4 J.R. Hildebrand (R)  -1 Lap

21. 18 James Jakes (R)  -2 Laps

22. 30 Pippa Mann (R)   -3 Laps

24. 59 E.J. Viso   -8 Laps

24. 24 Ana Beatriz (R)   OUT

25. 26 Marco Andretti   OUT

26. 78 Simona  de Silvestro   OUT

27. 19 Alex Lloyd   OUT

28. 34 Dillon Battistini (R)   OUT

29. 3 Helio Castroneves   OUT