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ECR Ready For New Edmonton Adventure
Author: Tom Blattler
In the wild finish, Carpenter was blocked from getting through the tight turn three at the Exhibition Place after an incident caused the track to be clogged with numerous cars. Ed was hoping for a better finish than 18th that day in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet machine.
But the only team owner/driver in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series has turned his concentration to the wider spaces of the City Centre Airport racing tarmac in downtown Edmonton for this weekend’s Edmonton Indy, the 11th stop on the 15-race IndyCar Series trail.
For Carpenter, one of only two drivers to finish every race this year in the IZOD campaign, the City Centre airport isn’t new but the current layout, only in its second year of competition, is foreign as his Ed Carpenter Racing team makes its Edmonton debut. The 2.256-mile, 13-turn circuit was contested for the first time in 2011 and Carpenter did not compete at Edmonton last year. He has raced at the old course on two occasions with a best finish of 13th in 2008.
“I have been studying the new circuit quite a bit with video from last year’s race,” said Carpenter, the Kentucky Speedway winner last year. “Of course, it is not the same as driving the track but it does give me an idea of the corners and the sight lines. Our engineering staff has experience at the new track and that really gives our team a good head start.”
While Carpenter’s racing background comes from the oval tracks, the Butler University graduate believes his team is improving with each road racing outing. Ed has run in the top-ten this year in several street races. He hopes the new circuit at Edmonton brings good fortune this Sunday.
“We have improved our street racing setups throughout the year,” he said. “We are a first-year team and our guys are working together well with the engineers, the mechanics and me. It takes time to develop a racing team. But I feel good about the direction we are going. We have been better than our street results show this year. We’d like to continue gaining strength with our street setup at Edmonton.”
At Toronto, Carpenter had moved from 22nd to 13th in the tough battle through the roads inside the Exhibition Place. And a top-ten finish was a possibility until the late-race incident in turn three.
“We had a chance for a much better finish at Toronto,” Carpenter said. “When cars started sliding around and hitting each other, I thought ‘we can make up some spots quickly here.’ But the road was just blocked and I was stuck behind a bunch of guys. I almost saved it but the engine stalled. I was stuck and we lost a lap and a shot for a possible top-ten finish. Those things are frustrating for a driver and a team.”
Carpenter has put the Toronto troubles behind him and is concentrating on the Edmonton airport surface.
“The Edmonton track is a little more open than the Toronto track, but passing is at a premium,” he said. “Last year’s race had some contact in the tight corners and would expect the same this year too with the new Dallara chassis. This series is so competitive right now and the racing is so tight. I could see some wild action this weekend. It should be very exciting for the fans.”
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