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Carpenter: Potential there for ECR to fight for IndyCar entrant title

Jan 8, 2014, 4:36 PM EDT

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Between the road/street course prowess of Mike Conway and the oval mastery of Ed Carpenter, the group at Ed Carpenter Racing could find their No. 20 Chevrolet fighting toward the front more regularly in the 2014 IndyCar Series.

But what about a possible entrant’s championship as well? Carpenter, a two-time IndyCar race winner, seems confident that his team can pull it off – if they can keep from making mistakes in a competitive series where problems are magnified.

“It’s a rarity, but I feel like we have all the tools and the combined talent of Mike and I and the team’s overall ability, the potential is there to make [an entrant's championship] a reality,” Carpenter said as part of an INDYCAR offseason report. “Like everything, it’s going to come down to execution and overachieving every weekend.”

Conway will be driving the No. 20 Chevy in all road and street events this coming season, while Carpenter has relegated himself to ovals-only duty for the greater good of his franchise.

Carpenter says he really started exploring the idea of stepping out of the car for road races after the 2013 season ended, and feels like he’s made the right choice to help bolster his team’s presence in the series.

“It’s definitely going to be an adjustment,” he said. “I’m still going to have the mentality of a driver on those weekends. I think I’ll be able to bring additional help to the team and help Mike and certainly have a little more time to focus on the business side of things.

“That’s the main objective…Making sure Ed Carpenter Racing is in a position to be sustainable and be a long-standing team in the series.”

Carpenter was an observer as Conway tested the No. 20 at Sebring International Raceway before the Christmas holiday. The English driver, who won last year in Race 1 at the Detroit Belle Isle doubleheader, turned more than 200 laps during that test and all indications are that he’s fitting in nicely at ECR.

“It’s just a really good fit for what he wants to do, what his skill set is and his professional approach is really in line with how we operate,” Carpenter said of his new teammate’s role. “It’s early, but we’ll all expecting to do great things.”

  1. manik56 - Jan 8, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    I’ll take Dixon, RHR, Helio, Power, Montoya, and Hinch instead.

  2. testover6370 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    I’m kind of bummed we won’t be seeing Ed drive on the road and street courses, because he did make meaningful progress this past year and it would have been nice to see him continue to improve all around. However, Fuzzys is a good sponsor and has done a lot for the series so it will be nice for them to get consistently good results. A small, driver-owned team with a good sponsor is something we should all want to see do well long term.

  3. bigdcart - Jan 11, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    “Entrant’s championship?” Is that what we are calling the driver’s championship now? Ed has been, and always will be, a backmarker on street & road courses. So that, coupled with Con Weasel’s proclamation that he’ll never drive ovals again, makes this the best off-season move thus far. But to water down the IndyCar driver’s championship by calling it an ‘entrant’s championship’ nullifies the versatility that makes IndyCar a unique Series.

  4. testover6370 - Jan 13, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    Drivers championship still exists but owners (or entrants) points are paid for the car, not the driver. It has been like this for a while. The entrants points are mainly a way to distribute leaders circle money rather than being an actual championship. Hence the second Coyne cars entrants points are more than any of its individual drivers. Those are two totally separate things.

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