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INDYCAR NEWS 

Carpentier hoped for 'fun' return

Patrick Carpentier crashes in Indy 500 practicePatrick Carpentier said he had been really looking forward to the prospect of making a single-seater return had he been able to get into the Indianapolis 500 field with Dragon Racing.

The 39-year-old Canadian was a Champ Car and IndyCar frontrunner from 1997 to 2005 but has since focused on stock cars.

He was called up by Dragon yesterday after the team had struggled to get on the pace with Scott Speed in Indy practice. But he had a massive crash in the warm-up session before Bump Day qualifying, ending the team's involvement in the event.

"I was a little bit dizzy at first, as I hit pretty hard," he said. "I thought it was going to be a fun comeback, but it was a hard comeback.

"What can you do? I was just starting to enjoy it. I started to go sideways a little bit, and I hit the white line. You don't want to do this with these cars, and it just swapped around on me."

Carpentier explained that the opportunity had arisen via Paul Tracy, who is driving in a limited programme of races with Dragon this year.

"I went to Long Beach and met with these guys a little bit and saw everyone there," said Carpentier. "I guess with me being a good friend of Paul Tracy, Paul said, 'You've got to give Pat a shot and try him out.' Paul called me, these guys called me, and I was on my way here.

"I was pretty happy. I want to try it again. It's been a while."

He added that he felt extremely sorry for the Dragon crew, whose other car for Ho-Pin Tung - run in collaboration with Sam Schmidt Motorsports - was also ruled out in a heavy practice accident.

"It's really disappointing, I'll tell you," Carpentier said. "I know these guys had a tough month. I thought I'd be able to come in and at least post a time for qualifying."

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