By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Ed Carpenter Racing’s eponymous team owner has a pretty successful business model. After driving the teams’ sole car in 2012 and 2013, Carpenter contested the ovals in 2014, ceding the road and street courses to Mike Conway.
After spending 2015 rebranded as CFH Racing thanks to a merger with Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman, 2016 brought Spencer Pigot on to contest the road and street courses opposite Carpenter’s oval efforts in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet. The team would run Josef Newgarden in the No. 21 car for the full season, expanding to two cars.
Would Carpenter be open to running two cars full time and another car split with another driver, however?
“I mean that would be the next step we would take, if it were there or if we couldn’t have a third that would be the next logical step,” Carpenter said. “But I think one thing we’ve always done a good job of is not doing any more than we can do or that we have the resources for, that’s why we’re only running two cars here instead of three here (in Indianapolis) this month just to make sure we can do things how we want to do it, so we’ll stick to that recipe because I think it’s worked well for us and if we can do more we will, if we can’t we won’t.”
Carpenter’s team has normally run an extra car in the Indianapolis races on the championship, but with Newgarden’s accident at Texas last year writing off a car, the amount of spare parts dwindled.
For 2017, ECR drafted Zach Veach at Barber Motorsports Park to run in place of injured J.R. Hildebrand. If Carpenter went to having two full time cars with other drivers and a third car for himself and another driver, it would make sense to hire Veach, wouldn’t it?
”I mean it’s a little early to say that, but we gave [Veach] the opportunity to run that race because we do think he has the ability to do it,” Carpenter said.
“He did a good job in testing for us last year, [we] certainly would be open to it. I think he’s paid his dues and worked hard, I think he does have a talent and he has the work ethic and the desire so whether that’ll be enough to make something happen I don’t know but you know, but it’s certainly someone that I’ve enjoyed working with and getting to know.”
For more future plans, another area of expansion to go after more drivers would be Indy Lights. Could future plans include Indy Lights if the proper commercial partnerships were there?