ED CARPENTER EXPANDS HIS ROLES IN 2012
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Last October, Ed Carpenter reached one of his racing goals by standing in victory lane at Kentucky Speedway, having just captured his first IZOD IndyCar Series event.
It was a stunning win over series champion Dario Franchitti in a wheel-to-wheel battle at over 210 miles per hour at the high-banked 1.5-mile oval. The Butler University graduate bested the Scotsman by mere inches in one of the best races of the 2011 racing tour.
Just one month later, Carpenter achieved another of his goals when he stood at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to announce the formation of his new racing team, Ed Carpenter Racing, in association with Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka.
Carpenter and his Fuzzy’s Vodka operation debut the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet-powered Indy car in the season opener of the 16-race IZOD IndyCar Series in the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend (March 23-25).
“Within a month I was able to achieve two of my biggest goals,” said Carpenter, the only team owner/driver in this year’s series. “Winning at Kentucky was a huge thrill for me as a driver. I had been close at that track before but this one was special. I raced against Dario lap after lap and just inches apart.”
“And winning for Sarah (Fisher, team owner) and her husband Andy (O’Gara) was very exciting. It was our first wins in the IndyCar Series. Then, just a month later, to announce the Fuzzy’s partnership with our new team was spectacular. Hard to believe all of these things came about in a month. Now everything is together and we are ready to go racing this weekend at St. Petersburg. It’s very exciting for our organization.”
Recent testing by Carpenter and his Fuzzy’s Vodka team has given the new squad a solid foundation to complete in 2012. Led by veterans Derrick Walker (general manager), Tim Broyles (team manager), Michael Cannon (chief engineer) and Bret Schmitt (chief mechanic), the ECR team has prepared well for its opening event.
“To say that this winter has been busy would be an understatement,” said Carpenter. “The undertaking has been intense. But now, after testing, we are ready to go to St. Petersburg for the season opener. It seems like everything is new for us with a new team, Ed Carpenter Racing; a new car, the DW12 Dallara; and, of course, the new Chevrolet Indy V-6 engine. We are getting settled with our new team members too. Our staff has been doing a superb job for a start-up team. I am thrilled to be back in the cockpit. The season opener is always an adrenaline rush for a driver each year. And it is extra special for me with the new team.”
Carpenter, who started racing at age eight, worked his way through a variety of racing divisions including quarter midgets, karts, USAC midgets, sprint cars, Silver Crown and Firestone Indy Lights before securing an IndyCar Series ride. He is the only driver currently in the IZOD Series who drove the rough dirt tracks and the tight pavement bullrings in the Midwest to hone his driving craft.
“I came through the ranks like the old days where A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones and the Unsers learned how to drive,” Carpenter explained. “Driving in the dirt and pavement bullrings gives a driver some great experience, learning car and throttle control as well as wheel-to-wheel competition. I guess I am the only one in the series now who has raced at the dirt ovals before coming to the IndyCars.”
Carpenter also is following in Foyt and Jones’ footsteps as a team owner.
A marketing major, Carpenter comes to the team owner category with knowledge of promoting his sponsor and developing a great alliance between his team, his sponsor and the series.
“I grew up in the sport and learned a number of things as I was racing in the smaller classes as well as taking classes at Butler,” said Carpenter, 31. “I enjoy the behind the scenes of working with the team, both on and off the track. In this era of racing, a driver and a team owner must understand the workings of a sponsor and promotions. I think I understand both sides from the driver and the owner.”
Ed Carpenter Racing has a great All-American story this year with the Indiana driver and sponsor and great brand of Chevrolet.
“American made, American driven. We’re looking forward to having the trifecta between Ed Carpenter Racing, Chevrolet and Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka in 2012,” said Fuzzy Zoeller, the former Masters and U.S. Open champion and founder of Fuzzy’s Vodka. “We’ve teed it up a few times with the IZOD IndyCar Series in the past and now we’ve hit the hole-in-one with Ed, Fuzzy’s and Chevrolet in 2012.”
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