NASCAR & Auto Racing

Carpentier signs a contract

with Gillet Evernham outfit

Patrick Carpentier, a Quebec native and former Champ Car and Indy Racing League veteran, has completed a deal to drive Gillett Evernham Motorsports' No. 10 Dodges in the Nextel Cup Series next season, The Charlotte Observer and have learned.

Carpentier, is expected to replace driver Scott Riggs, who is leaving for Haas CNC Racing at the end of the season, could be formally introduced as GEM's new driver as early as this weekend, sources confirmed Wednesday. It was unclear Wednesday whether Valvoline would continue to sponsor the team. GEM officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Carpentier's addition will give the Cup series its most international flavor next season. He will be joined by fellow Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti of Scotland as full-time drivers in the series.

Carpentier made his NASCAR debut earlier this season in the Aug. 4 Busch Series race at Montreal, where he won the pole and finished second.

He made his Cup debut Aug. 12 at Watkins Glen, N.Y., driving the No. 10 for GEM. He started 40th, led seven laps and finished 22nd.