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 fourth-place position in the final championship standings was the best in ECR’s history.
Hildebrand’s perseverance paid off as he was named as the driver of the No. 21 for the 2017 season, his first full-time season since 2012. The No. 20 will continue to be split between Carpenter on the ovals and Pigot on the road and street courses. 2017 will be Carpenter’s 15th season of Verizon IndyCar Series competition and he remains the only owner/driver in the field.