In late 2011, a new team entered the Verizon IndyCar Series. Fresh off his first career win at the season finale at Kentucky Speedway, veteran driver Ed Carpenter announced he would be forming his own team. Ed Carpenter Racing was born with Carpenter himself assuming responsibilities of both owner and driver. Indiana-based Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka would back Carpenter’s No. 20 Chevrolet.
Carpenter drove the entirety of the 2012 and 2013 seasons in his own car. His first win as both owner and driver came at the 2012 season finale at Auto Club Speedway. He then captured podium finishes there the next two years, finishing second and third, respectively. The Indianapolis native solidified his status as hometown favorite when he won the pole position for the 2013 Indianapolis 500, later leading the most laps of any driver during that event.
Carpenter turned his driving focus to the oval races in 2014, hiring Mike Conway to compete in the road and street course events. ECR won three races in 2014 – Carpenter at Texas Motor Speedway, while Conway scored victories at Long Beach and the second of the Toronto double-header events. ECR expanded to two cars for the first time at the Indianapolis 500 when a second car was entered for JR Hildebrand. Carpenter was once again the fastest qualifier for the Indianapolis 500 in 2014, claiming back-to-back pole positions.
In August 2014, the single-car teams of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing announced plans to merge for 2015, creating a multi-car program that would be known as CFH Racing. ECR moved into SFHR’s existing shop at the conclusion of the 2014 season. Josef Newgarden, whose IndyCar career began with SFHR in 2012 on the heels of his 2011 Indy Lights championship, was announced as CFH’s full-time driver for 2015. Italian Luca Filippi was brought in to pilot the No. 20 on the road and street course events, with Carpenter continuing to drive on ovals.
Expectations were high for the new team and CFH Racing did not disappoint. Newgarden scored his breakthrough first win just four races into the season at Barber Motorsports Park. The team increased to three cars during the Month of May, adding Hildebrand for both events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Newgarden’s second win came in the middle of the season when he led teammate Filippi to the team’s first ever 1-2 finish in the streets of Toronto. Newgarden followed up his first career pole position at Milwaukee with two more podium finishes at Iowa and Pocono. He entered the final race of the year as a championship contender, finishing 7th. It was the team’s highest points finish in it’s history.
Prior to the 2016 season, it was announced that Carpenter would resume full ownership of the team and it would compete once again as Ed Carpenter Racing. He remained the driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. Newgarden remained with his same crew since his rookie year as he competed for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. For the second year in a row, the team featured an all-American multi-car lineup in the Indianapolis 500 as Hildebrand returned for the month of May. Newgarden started in the middle of the front row of the Indianapolis 500, finishing a career- and team-best 3rd. Following the Indianapolis 500, 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot stepped into the No. 20 for the road and street course events, netting two Top 10 finishes in his first five starts. The highlight of Newgarden’s year came as a dominating victory at Iowa Speedway, leading 282 of 300 laps just four weeks after surgery on a broken collarbone. His season included 10 Top 10 finishes, six Top 5s and four podiums in 15 races. His 4th place position in the final championship standings was the best in ECR’s history.
After serving as an integral part of ECR for three years during the Month of May, Hildebrand was named as the driver of the No. 21 for the 2017 season, his first full-time season since 2012.
The No. 20 lineup remained unchanged as Carpenter continued to race on the ovals and Pigot became the first driver to retain the road and street course seat for a second season. Just 20 days removed from breaking a bone in his left hand, Hildebrand raced his way to 3rd at Phoenix, topping that mid-season with a 2nd place at Iowa. During Indianapolis 500 qualifications, both Hildebrand and Carpenter advanced to the Fast Nine Shootout. Hildebrand earned his highest starting position for the 500-mile race with 6th while Carpenter secured himself his third front row start in five years with a run fast enough for the 2nd starting position. Both drivers would lead the event, extending Carpenter’s streak to ten consecutive seasons of leading at least one lap. In Pigot’s sophomore season, his name became synonymous with the ability to race his way through the field as he was credited with over 50 on-track passes for position. In the penultimate race of the season, Pigot matched his best qualifying position to date and led the first laps of his Indy car career.
Pigot’s perseverance came full-circle when he was named the full-time driver of ECR’s No. 21 entry for the 2018 season. Between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Pigot and Carpenter completed an extensive testing program for Chevrolet in preparation for 2018’s universal aero kit. Carpenter will be joined by British driver Jordan King in the No. 20 in 2018, competing in a US-based racing series for the first time in his career. King joins the Indy car field with numerous accolades, including the FIA Institute’s 2015 Driver of the Year and the 2013 British Formula 3 championship.