IZOD IndyCar Series: MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships
Topics: MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships
September 15, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased now to be joined by the winner of the MAVTV 500, Ed Carpenter. This is Ed's second career IZOD IndyCar Series win, and his first as a team owner with Ed Carpenter Racing. This is also Ed's best finish this season. His previous best finish was 8th which he did both at Milwaukee and Iowa.
Ed, congratulations on a great victory. Talk about tonight's race in that last lap, that pass and that caution?
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, you know, it was a wild race. I had never done a 500 miler before other than in Indianapolis, so there were a lot of things to not know what to expect. But it was fun. We started out great, and the car was really good early.
You know, I felt really confident coming into the race that we had a good car. We started trying to make it better, because it wasn't the best car early, and we actually made it worse. We just kept working on it and got better and better as the race went on. Got a couple of good restarts in the end. Got in good position and was able to make a well‑timed pass on Dario and get a yellow to come out.
The red flag, I guess that is a new procedure at IndyCar that none of us had heard about, but it worked out for me tonight, so I'll take it.
Q. You not only won today, but have gone through some change this year. You had a bit of an engineering change mid‑point in the season. You've got Derrick Walker who is sometimes here, sometimes in sports car races. Tell me about how your team has pulled together with some challenges in your first year?
ED CARPENTER: I think to be where we are right now as a first year team is pretty remarkable. The whole group from Derrick and Tim down through all the mechanics, engineers, everybody, even a couple of guys that aren't with us anymore had an influence in this. So just really proud for the whole team.
Like you said, Derrick split with his time with us and his ALMS program. So I really wish he was here to share with us tonight because his thumbprint is all over this team. But really happy to be able to do this in our first year. I think it's something that's extremely hard to do to win in this series anywhere. To do it as a new team I think is pretty special.
Q. Ed, I'm sure you grew up dreaming of winning a 500 mile race. I bet you didn't think it would be in California though?
ED CARPENTER: Well, it's a start. It's a start. Fuzzy said when we were out taking pictures, he told the whole team, next year we kiss the bricks. So that might be our off‑season cry. It is every year. Every race we do and every win, it's a little bit closer to accomplishing that Indy win, I think. It's just we've gotten the team to do it. We had the speed to do it at Indy this year. We just didn't execute. That's what it comes down to.
Q. You mentioned that Derrick also today with the ALMS race somewhere in Virginia. The first question, even if he's not in the IndyCar race, do you have regular contact with him by phone? Can he give you any advice from a distance? Question number two, are you planning maybe to get with Derrick to expand to a two‑car team in 2013?
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, we stay in touch with Derrick. I mostly email with him. It's hard to talk on the phone during the race weekend. But we set up the team knowing that Derrick wouldn't be around all the time, and Tim Broyles is our team manager. He's called strategy all year long even when Derrick's here. So we've built the team that way to kind of operate the same whether Derrick's here or whether he's not.
More than anything, he likes to refer to himself as the rudder of the team. He's definitely a big part of I would call him an architect of helping shape us here in year one, and we're glad to have him as part of the team.
For the second part, we've been trying to find a way to get to a second car team at time this is year and for sure next year. Whether or not that will happen, there are a lot of factors that go into being able to expand, but maybe getting this win will help us with that.
Q. Could you talk about the tires and the track temperature as the sun was going down?
ED CARPENTER: It was difficult to see early in the race, but I think everyone did a really good job giving one another space with the sun. But as the temperature dropped, the track changed a lot. Like I had mentioned earlier, our car was really good early, and then as we were kind of adjusting the car as it was in the sun. As it got darker, it changed everything and it took us a few stops to get the right adjustments back on the car for the night‑time conditions.
But Matt and Woody on the timing stand made the right calls and got the car handling well when it counted in the end.
Q. What was going through your mind when there were just eight laps to go and you're all lined up waiting to go out? What was going through your mind at that moment seeing Dario right in front of you?
ED CARPENTER: I was just trying to stay focused. I figured he would probably protect the low side on the start, and I got a really good run on the start, and I thought he was going to be able to pass him on the initial restart, but he held me off. I was trying to run the low end with him just to draft and keep his draft. It wasn't working. I just went back up to the high line I ran all night and built up some momentum and think he had to start lifting a little as he just continued to protect the low side.
You know, I was able to catch him, get a draft, and get around him right before that yellow came out. Definitely a little bit of luck there.
Q. To Kentucky last year you and Dario put on a great show. You figured out each other's way to run close. Running and winning your first time with Sarah last year, was there anything you learned in that process that was really helpful this year?
ED CARPENTER: I think just being in situations like that, I felt like I stayed really calm tonight even when things weren't going well for us. When I didn't get Dario on that restart, I just kept attacking and kept my cool and kept running a smart race and kept my head in it. I think just having the experience from last year helps with that.
It's always nice racing Dario in those situations because he's going to race you clean.
Q. There were a lot of chants out there "USA, USA," because not only an American race winner, but an American champion. As a fellow driver, how important is it for you to see a first driver from the United States win an IndyCar Series title since Sam Hornish in 2006?
ED CARPENTER: I think it's great. I'm really happy for Ryan. We were teammates for a few races back in 2009 and have been good friends since then. My daughter was in his wedding, and I'm really happy for Ryan. He deserves it. He's had a great year, and I'm happy it worked out for him.
Q. How is it or how stressful is a team owner and driver at the same time? Can you really get a lot of work or are all the important decisions done by yourself concerning management of the team?
ED CARPENTER: I'm not a micro manager by any sense of the word, so I really don't have a hard time with it. When I'm at racetrack, I'm a driver. I work with the engineers as a driver, and I think everyone knows when I'm in driver mode that they can treat me like a driver and yell at me like a driver. When we're back at the shop, I'm more of an owner. So we've got a great management team with Derrick and Tim, and my dad, Tony, and our other partner and the team help me a lot on the business side of things as well.
So really in season, to be honest, it didn't really feel much different than it did racing for the teams I had raced with previously.
Q. Did Tech inspection find any Fuzzy's Vodka in the fuel?
ED CARPENTER: There will be some Fuzzy's on the car somewhere. I think quite a few of the crew guys have been served a little bit, so hope we don't have to work on the car too much, but the car should pass just fine.
Q. Does this help vindicate your Baltimore showing? Because you were pretty racy there and that's a road course.
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I mean, the results haven't been great on road and street course this is year, but I do think we got better, even though it didn't show all the time. I was really disappointed myself in Baltimore because we finally had good pace and had a good car, and I made a silly mistake and took us out of the race nine laps into it.
It does feel good to come back out here and have a good showing and deliver for not only the team but for our sponsors.
Q. As a quick follow‑up, I guess taking those two experiences the last two races of the year, how does that feel going into next year?
ED CARPENTER: I'm excited. I wish our season wasn't over. I think everyone involved is trying to get us back to a longer season. But it's going to be a long off‑season, but at least we have something to be happy about for a few months to keep everyone motivated as we get ready for next March.
Q. What was your exact thought at the moment that Sato spun and you knew you were in the lead? What flashed through your mind?
ED CARPENTER: I just kept my foot in it and drove all the way down into three just in case it was a false yellow or something. I wanted to make sure I stayed clear of Dario.
I was happy when it came out, because I knew I was in front of him and knew it was the last lap. So I was fist pumping down the backstretch.
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