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ECR Heads to Long Beach, Continues Learning Curve

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Ed Carpenter

ECR Heads to Long Beach, Continues Learning Curve

Tom Blattler
Ed Carpenter Racing
April 10, 2012


Ed Carpenter
April 10th 2012 - After two races in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, it is still “a work in progress” for the newest team in the paddock area, Ed Carpenter Racing.

Led by veterans Derrick Walker (general manager) and Tim Broyles (team manager), the upstart racing operation is learning the ropes with team owner Ed Carpenter, who also handles the controls in the cockpit of the team’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet.

This weekend, the ECR organization makes its first ever run in the streets of Long Beach for the famed Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, one of the world’s greatest street events. Carpenter and his squad are ready for the challenge after season-opening races in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Birmingham, Ala.

“We have learned quite a bit from the first two races,” said Carpenter, the only team owner/driver in the 26-driver field. “We got started late in our testing program and it has been a big learning curve. I think we are progressing well as a new team. I expect more improvement at Long Beach.”

Having veterans like Walker and Broyles leading his team has given Carpenter a head start with his new contingent, but the team is still the newest in the highly-competitive open-wheel circuit.

“We knew we would have struggles in front of us with a new operation,” Carpenter admits. “But the transition has been smooth so far. Having a great major sponsor like Fuzzy’s Vodka has given us an excellent start when you are taking on established teams like Penske, Ganassi and Andretti. Luckily, Derrick and Tim have worked with those teams previously so they understand what is needed to succeed.”

Carpenter, a Butler University marketing graduate, knows the auto racing sport too. He has been racing and winning since age eight in quarter-midgets and driving many types of dirt track machines before entering the ultimate open-wheel division, the IndyCar Series. The Indianapolis-based racer understands behind the scenes aspects.

“The new role as an owner was a little different,” he said. “You have to work on a variety of elements including marketing, sponsorships, team personnel, equipment and other items. Luckily, I have some very solid people in place with the team to coordinate the majority of the activities. I can then concentrate on the driving portion on race weekends.”

Carpenter is positive about his new team’s approach coming into the Long Beach event.

“I think we have a pretty good base for the street circuits after the St. Petersburg race,” the father of two young children says. “We were hit from behind in the race there or we had a shot at a top ten finish in our very first race. We feel good about the process of our street course setup. If we can continue that progression, I think we will improve even more at Long Beach.”

Considering Ed Carpenter Racing was formed in November and didn’t hit the track until last month, it has been a whirlwind for the infant squad.

“I’m getting to know the car better, the engineers are getting to know the car better and we are working better as a team,” he said. “As that goes on, we are closing the gap with the people in front of us. I’m encouraged with the development of the team and believe we will pick up where we left off after the first two races.”

Carpenter and Fuzzy’s team hit the Long Beach track on Friday (April 13) at 10 a.m. with the first round of practices. The 38th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is for Sunday (April 15) at 1 p.m. PDT and is televised on the NBC Sports Network.

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