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Meet the Crew: Ed Delporte

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Ed Delporte

Meet the Crew: Ed Delporte

Tom Blattler
Ed Carpenter Racing
April 19, 2013

Ed Carpenter Racing
April 19th 2013 - An 18-year veteran in IndyCar racing, Ed Delporte began his racing career with Dick Simon Racing as a data engineer, shock technician and parts runner…. With Panther Racing from 1998 to 2009, he served as a data engineer and shock tech and assisted in scoring 15 race wins and two series championships in the IndyCar Series…. The IUPUI mechanical engineering graduate has worked two seasons with KV Racing Technology…. Ed joined Ed Carpenter Racing in 2012.

How did you get into racing?
“I started with Dick Simon Racing in 1994. I was a parts runner and sweep up the floors guy. I did that job at first because I was going to school at IUPUI. I traveled with the team during the summer and went back to school in the fall. I was majoring in mechanical engineering. I also took many electronic courses. When I graduated, they took me on because they needed a DAG, data acquisition engineer. Plus I was the shocks guy too. So I quickly had two jobs there. Dick (Simon) was actually setting up the cars back in those days. In 1996, there was the CART IRL split but Dick’s teams run both series. We ran all of the IRL, all the CART ovals and half of the CART road courses. So it was pretty busy. It was a bit of a challenge. Later on, Andy Evans bought the team and that became the Scandia team. I later moved on to Panther Racing in 1998.”

Are you from the Speedway area?
“I was born in Indianapolis and we move to Speedway in 1973. My dad found our house in Speedway after walking back to his car after one of the practice days. If you are walking straight west from the start/finish line and go through the parking area and then three blocks, there was our house. I lived there for 24 years including my college years. So that whole area is very special for me. I went to a lot of practice and qualifying days growing up, but my first Indy 500 I attended was 1979. I missed only a couple of races since then. Our family still has our 12 tickets in turn three too. The race is a big deal for us.”

What do you like about Ed Carpenter Racing?
“I like the team because it is small. I like the smaller environment when you get to know people on a professional as well as a personal level. It is more like home and it is a family atmosphere. Ed also brings that into the team too with his family coming to the track on most weekends. He brings Heather and the kids and that is fun. They are very pleasant to work with which is different than some teams. We seem to really get along as a team. My schedule is a little different because I have to work closely with the engineers, then the mechanics and finally Ed with his helmets and other needs. I have to be flexible to adjust to the team’s schedules in the shop and at the track. I have to plan my schedule accordingly. I try to stay ahead of everyone’s schedule so they don’t wait for me."

How do you plan your working schedule?
“I usually try to get the car done first since the mechanics have a deadline to have the car prepared for the track to travel. Then I will go to engineers for their sensor requirements and other items. I do a lot of wiring for the car, Ed’s helmets and other equipment. I guess I’m kind of a jack of all trades. I’m an electrician, IT guy, a fabricator of sorts too. I enjoy that aspect of my job. It spices up my day. I enjoy working with my hands too, so I get involved with the fab shop sometimes. If we need a part of the timing stand, I’ll work on it.”

Did you always want to get into the racing business?
“Yes. I grew up three blocks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. So it was in my blood early as a kid. I went to Speedway High, so I am a Sparkplug!”

Do you ask the team what the needs are for the different parts on the car and how do you help them?
“I usually ask each department, ‘What is the priority?’ Then I can concentrate on the portions of the race car that are needed immediately. Each day I will prioritize my schedule around the most immediate need. It can get pretty busy when guys are in need of something at the same time. But that’s part of my job.”

What is the highlight of your racing career so far?
“When we finished second at the Indy 500 in 2008 with Vitor Meira driving. Then, it was the two IndyCar championships with Sam Hornish in 2001 and 2002. Last year was exciting when we won at Fontana. I went to the season not knowing what to expect with a complete new team. I knew that Ed was really good on the ovals, but, to be honest, I didn’t expect to win in the first year. It was nice to get back to the winner’s circle. The last time for me was in 2005 with Tomas Scheckter at Texas. He had a good car that day."

What is the toughest part of your job?
“Probably trying to keep everything going in the right direction and that everything I’m involved with is working properly. Since I’m involved with a lot of things on the car, we need my stuff to work right. That is satisfying when things work well. We had just one DNF last year and it wasn’t due to a mechanical problem.”

Last year the ECR team was new, this winter the team started a workout program at St. Vincent Sports Performance in addition to the work at the shop. How has that worked out for you?
“That has been good because a heart patient needs that. I was very close to a heart attack in 2010 so I had heart bypass surgery in May of 2010. I didn’t make it through the stress test and they admitted me and transferred me to St. Vincent Heart Center. They set up a surgery over the weekend and they performed it on the Monday. I had a triple bypass. I feel very good now and I like to workout at St. Vincent’s. I wish I could actually workout more now. I liked it when we worked out four times a week, but, with the racing schedule now, we go three times a week. Walking from the pits to the garage or paddock areas is good for me too. I try to avoid the cart rides.”

Ed, you are one of the few on the team that worked at Long Beach in the 1990s. What do you like about that race?
“First, I like it because it’s close to the ocean. I followed the Long Beach race back when Formula One raced there and then when CART was there. So I really like the event in the streets. Next to Indy, Long Beach is one of the biggest events too. I always liked it because of the Formula One cars there and it’s one of the longest running street races. The time change affects me a little the first day but it is fun. It’s a different lifestyle there. It’s fun to walk around by the track after the events of the day and there are good places to eat too."

What is the goal for you and the team this year?
“Our No. 1 goal is to win at the Speedway. For me, it’s always about the Speedway. It would be awesome to win, especially since I grew up down the street from the track. I would be more than happy to trade my two championship rings for one Indy 500 ring. Last year would have been great to win since my mom was still alive, but I’ll take it this year or any year." - See more at: http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/Meet-the-Crew-Ed-Delporte.news#sthash.WO5oXj1m.dpuf

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