By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
CFH Racing announced that owners Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman have removed themselves as owners of the team, dissolving it and re-introducing Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2016 IndyCar season.
Hartman’s oil company has taken a major hit since prices have reduced and as such hurt his chances to continue involvement with the team going forward. Fisher will stay involved with the team, working with current partners and assisting in sponsor development.
Entering 2015 the trio of Hartmen, Fisher, and driver/owner Ed Carpenter decided to merge their respective single car organizations in hopes that the merger would strengthen the overall team as it competed with the “heavy hitters” of IndyCar – Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Team Penske.
The move proved successful with Josef Newgarden breaking out for a career year, finding his first IndyCar win at Barber Motorsports Park and second on the Streets of Toronto.
“After competing for a year as CFH Racing, we will be returning to ECR for 2016 and beyond,” said Carpenter in a statement. “While we had a great year as CFH Racing, we have had some partnership changes within the organization and it makes the most sense to return to ECR. I am proud of what we have accomplished as a team since we started in 2012 and look forward to building upon that success for another exciting Verizon IndyCar Series season.”
Following the announcement, Fisher took time to recognize the history of her time as a longtime owner in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“It’s important for IndyCar to have strong entries on grid and this team needs to be two of them, so I will do what I can to help them with business developments and continue with solutions for our current partners,” said Fisher. “I am lucky to have been an owner in this series for eight years, having incredible memories along the way. Lastly, I am extremely thankful to Wink and Libba Hartman for everything they’ve done to help us get to where we are today.”
For 2016, Newgarden will switch from No. 67 to No. 21 for ECR and is set to be the team’s only full time entry, with Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka backing the 25-year-old for the opening four races. Carpenter will reprise his part time role on ovals only in a second car sporting the No. 20, with no current announcements to run road/street courses with an additional driver.
“I may never have had the chance to race an Indy car if it was not for Wink Hartman, Libba Hartman, Sarah Fisher and Andy O’Gara,” Newgarden said. “They really were a huge turning point in my career and helped me break into the professional level. Their support was everything and more that a young driver could ask for.