Carpenter Adds Space Force Sponsorship for 500

Ed Carpenter Racing has a new sponsor for the number 20 car for the August 23rd Indianapolis 500. The United States Space Force joins the team. The U. S. Air Force already sponsors the number 47, which  Conor Daly will drive in the 500, and it also sponsors the 20 car when Daly drives it on the road and street courses. Carpenter has touted his team as the All american team, so this sponsorship falls in line with the team’s theme.  The press release:

U.S. SPACE FORCE JOINS ED CARPENTER RACING FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
Three-Time Indy 500 Pole Winner Ed Carpenter Will Drive No. 20 U.S. Space Force Chevrolet on August 23
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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) August 7, 2020 – The U.S. Space Force announced a partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing this morning on FOX & Friends. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations unveiled the No. 20 U.S. Space Force Chevrolet with driver and team owner Ed Carpenter. The three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner will carry the colors of the U.S.’s new military branch in this year’s 500-mile race, scheduled for August 23, 2020. Through ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ Carpenter and ECR will build awareness of the U.S. Space Force in race fans and Americans all over the country.
The U.S. Space Force became the sixth branch of the Department of Defense when it was signed into law on December 20, 2019. The mission of the U.S. Space Force is to protect the interests of the United States in space; deter aggression in, from and to space; and conduct space operations. Similar to the branches of the military which are dedicated to protecting and securing the air, land, and sea, the U.S. Space Force focuses singularly on space.
“The U.S. Space Force’s involvement with the Indy 500 is centered around our organizations’ shared principles of STEM, teamwork, speed and competition,” said Maj. Jason Wyche, Chief of Air Force and Space Force Recruiting National Events Marketing Branch. “Additionally, the partnership gives the U.S. Space Force the ability to reach a large number of prospects and influencers through the far-reaching broadcast viewership and media coverage both for and leading up to the race.”
While Carpenter now races exclusively in the oval events, he is one of the most experienced drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with 184 career starts to date. He began his 18th season of Indy car competition with a Top 5 finish at Texas Motor Speedway in June. Carpenter, an Indianapolis native, has started on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 five of the past seven years. He solidified his status as a hometown favorite by winning the pole position in 2013 and 2014; in 2018, he became just the 10th driver to collect three or more Indy 500 poles in the century-plus history of the race. Of Carpenter’s 16 Indianapolis 500 starts, two of his strongest results have come the past two years, including a runner-up after leading the most laps in 2018.
Carpenter is thrilled to have the opportunity race on behalf of the U.S. Space Force. “This is such an exciting day, unveiling this beautiful U.S. Space Force Chevrolet that I will drive in the Indianapolis 500 on August 23! To be able to represent the men and women of the U.S.’s newest military branch is truly an honor,” proclaimed Carpenter. He continued, “Even though we are not running the ‘500’ on Memorial Day weekend this year, the event has such a strong connection to our Armed Forces and there’s no better way to showcase the brand new U.S. Space Force!”
The U.S. Space Force will organize, train, and equip agile, lean and forward-looking space professionals to defend our nation, allies, and American interests in space. By creating separate service with a dedicated purpose, the United States will maintain an advantage as space becomes more crowded and contested. Approximately 16,000 military and civilians from the former U.S. Air Force Space Command are now assigned to the U.S. Space Force and 6,000 active-duty Airmen will be transferring to the branch.
Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Space Force released its logo and motto, both of which are featured prominently on Carpenter’s No. 20. First used in 1961, the Delta symbol honors the heritage of the U.S. Air Force and Space Command. The silver outer border of the Delta signifies defense and protection from all adversaries and threats from the space domain. In the center of the Delta is the star Polaris, which symbolizes how the core values guide the mission. The U.S. Space Force motto, ‘Semper Supra’ (Always Above), represents the service’s role in establishing, maintaining and preserving U.S. freedom of operations in the space domain.
Carpenter is the only individual in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES who handles both the responsibility of driving and owning his own team. Founded in 2012, Carpenter’s eponymous team has two full-time entries and expands to three cars for the Indianapolis 500. The 39-year-old will compete alongside fellow Hoosier Conor Daly and Dutch rookie Rinus VeeKay. ECR will be representing two branches of the United States military as Daly races for the U.S. Air Force. The 28-year-old’s special edition No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet pays homage to the founding year of the U.S. Air Force and one of its most iconic aircraft, the Bell X-1. VeeKay, 19, will be competing in his first Indianapolis 500 in the team’s No. 21 entry.
The 2020 Indianapolis 500 was originally slated for May 24 but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership, the decision has been made to hold the race on August 23 without spectators. All on-track action from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be viewed via NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN or NBC. The 2.5-mile oval will open for practice on Wednesday, August 12 and continue throughout the week. Qualifications will be held on Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16. The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 23 with a live broadcast on NBC.
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About Air Force Recruiting Service
The mission of the U.S. Air Force is to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace. For 2020, the Air Force Recruiting Service is hiring nearly 29,000 new Airmen to fill opportunities in both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force. AFRS is looking to inspire, engage and recruit the next generation of Airmen and Space professionals to preserve the security of America. For more information about U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force benefits and opportunities, go to www.airforce.com.

The Front Row

I don’t normally get into historical statistics, but this front row fascinates me for several reasons. First Simon Pagenaud and Ed Carpenter are will make the3ir second straight front row starts on Sunday.  Their positions are reversed from 2018. Spencer Pigot’s car number, 21, is the switched number of last year’s third place starter, eventual winner Will Power, 12.

Cars starting in the front row have won 43 of the 102 Indianapolis 500s to date. The pole position leads with 20 victories, the middle of the first row has won 11 times, and the outside staring slot owns 12 wins. Some think the third spot is the best place to be at the start. It was somewhat advantageous in the roadster era, but I’m not sure it works with today’s cars and the jump the pole car seems to get.

It seems odd that all three front row cars carry a number in the 20’s. The top three with a little change in order could have been 20, 21, 22. The last time the entire front row consisted of cars all numbered in the 20s was 2013.  Carpenter (20) on pole, Carlos Munoz (26) in the middle, and Marco Andretti (25) stared on the outside.Carpenter finished 10th, Munoz second, and Andretti 4th.  From my research, that was the only other time the front row cars all bore numbers in the 20s.

I found some other notable cars numbered in the 20s that began the race in the front row, including some race winners- Dario Franchitti (27) in 2007; Emerson Fittipaldi (20) from the pole in 1989, back when he still drank milk. Floyd Roberts (23) won in 1938  also from the pole; and Mauri Rose (27) in 1947.

Fred Agabashian had two front row starts in 1950 and 1952 with car 28. he started second in 1950 and won the pole at a then record speed in 1952. Unfortunately, the Cummins Diesel did not fare well in the races. Agabashian finished 28th and 27th in those races.

I don’t know what the track has in store for these front row starters with the numbers in the 20s on their machines. History looks to be a mixed bag. i think we’ll see a couple of them up front near the end. one of them is looking to be my pick for the win.

 

 

Carpenter Leads Veterans’ Session; Rookies and Returnees Set to Complete Tests

Ed Carpenter had the fastest time in the first two hour veterans’ session as practice began for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.  His Preferred Freezer Services Dallara turned a lap at 228.653. Helio Castroneves had the next fastest time at 228.441. Castroneves turned his lap early in the session. Colton Herta was third at 228.284.Sebastien Bourdais (228.242) and Spencer Pigot (227.661) round out the top five.

Ed Jones was eighth quickest, putting all three Ed Carpenter Racing cars in the top eight.

James Hinchcliffe drove each of the four cars in the Arrow Schmidt Peterson stable.

 

Rookies and drivers needing refresher tests will have exclusive use of the track for the next two hours. Back with more after the next session.

 

 

2019 Indycar Grid Gets Less Fuzzy

Usually, that headline is a positive statement. However, today Ed Carpenter Racing  announced that Fuzzy’s Vodka will no longer be a sponsor. The official announcement:

(INDIANAPOLIS) October 29, 2018 – After seven consecutive seasons, one of the most recognizable partnerships in the IndyCar Series will conclude as the relationship between Ed Carpenter Racing and Fuzzy’s Vodka has come to an end. While Fuzzy’s Vodka will concentrate on business initiatives outside of motorsports moving forward, Ed Carpenter Racing’s 2019 plans are unaffected with the No. 20 and No. 21 entries still competing full-time.

Fuzzy’s Vodka has been with Ed Carpenter Racing since the team’s debut season in 2012 and has supported ECR in each of the 118 IndyCar Series events since. Team owner Ed Carpenter has had Fuzzy’s Vodka on the sidepod of his car every one of his races the past seven seasons, including his three successful Indianapolis 500 pole runs and runner-up finish this year. A Fuzzy’s Vodka car has pulled into victory lane five times and Fuzzy’s Vodka drivers have stood on the podium 16 times. Away from the track, ECR is proud to have supported Fuzzy’s successful activation efforts, including unique bottle designs and heavy promotion during the Month of May which led to substantial sales uplifts each year.

Carpenter is grateful for the support Fuzzy’s Vodka has given his team and is now focused on the future. “I am very appreciative and proud of the relationship between ECR and Fuzzy’s, really going back to before the team began. It has been a good run and I wish them nothing but the best with their future endeavors. Tony George, Stuart Reed and I started ECR together back in 2012 and we are still as committed now as we were then to winning Indy 500s and competing for IndyCar Series championships. Our plans for 2019 and beyond remain unchanged and I cannot wait to see what we accomplish together moving forward.”

Ed Carpenter Racing is deep in preparations for the 2019 IndyCar Series season, having just solidified a driver lineup for the upcoming year earlier this month. Spencer Pigot will continue with ECR for a fourth season, his second as the team’s full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. Carpenter will remain the only owner/driver in the series as he continues to drive the No. 20 Chevrolet in the five oval races. A new partnership with Scuderia Corsa will see Ed Jones behind the wheel of the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet for the 12 road and street course events. Jones will also compete in the 2019 Indianapolis 500 alongside Carpenter and Pigot as the team enters a third car, the No. 64 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet.

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Fuzzy’s has been a great Indycar sponsor. Activation was great with their commemorative bottles including this year’s set of four honoring A. J. Foyt’s four Indianapolis 500 victories. Fuzzy’s had a booth in the fan village for the first few years of their involvement. ECR had two of the best looking cars on the grid as well.

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Spencer Pigot at Iowa, where he earned a career best second place.

Some Thoughts-

Will Fuzzy’s continue to sponsor the Turn 2 Suites?

Is Scuderia Corsa bringing another sponsor? Oriol Servia’s car last May did not have a lot of sponsorship on it.

Will Preferred Freezer Services have increased involvement with the 21 car?

Will Direct Supply be more involved with the team?

 

 

Change Coming to ECR- New Driver, Team Partnership; Vasser-Sullivan Expands to IMSA

An announcement should come tomorrow (Wednesday) regard Ed Carpenter racing’s car 20 for 2019. Jordan King will not return to the road/street course schedule in the Fuzzy’s car. The team is expected to announce a partnership with Scuderis Corsa, which fielded Oriol Servia in the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. Ed Jones, who drove for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018, will be introduced as the driver of the shared ride. Ed Carpenter will drive the 20 on all ovals. Jones will drive a third car in the 2019 500.

The partnership with Corsa puts Oriol Servia on the sidelines once again. Servia was instrumental in getting Scuderia Corsa to the 500 last season and was looking to drive for them in a full season effort in 2019. Servia would be a good candidate for the second seat at Carlin.

The Carlin seat is one of two still open. Schmidt=Peterson has an open seat while Robert Wickens continues his recovery.

I will follow up tomorrow afternoon on the details after the announcement.

Vasser-Sullivan Joins Lexus  in IMSA

Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan, who joined forces with Dale Coyne Racing for Sebastien Bourdais’ ride, announced their entry into IMSA. They will field a Lexus in the GT Daytona class. No driver has been named. Vasser said this will not affect the Indycar portion of their program. Indycar owners have been expanding into IMSA at quite a clip lately.

Will Bourdais continue to drive foir Ganassi in the endurance races or will he switch to the Vasser-Sullivan ride?

Carb Day- Lots of Laps and a Great Indy Lights Race

I’m not sure we know any more about how the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 will go tomorrow after watching the Carb Day session. 1,273 laps of mostly strung out running should help drivers get a feel for Sunday’s similar weather conditions. The four fastest yesterday- Tony Kanaan 227.791, Scott Dixon 225.684, Marco Andretti 225.220, and Sebastien Bourdais 224.815, could be the group from which  the winner comes.  The race will come down to track position in the last40 laps and who makes the right tire calls on the last stop.

Danica Patrick had an electrical problem early in the session and only ran 15 laps. Her second lap was the eighth quickest. She did get on track during the final 10 minutes. The session was halted briefly for a track inspection. No cars had an on track incident.

Polesitter Ed Carpenter Ran 30 laps with a best time of 223.219, 14th fastest. Teammate Spencer Pigot had the 9th fastest time, 223.584. Overall, a decent day for the Carpenter team. Can they put it all together on race Day? That has been the one glitch in their 500 program.

Graham Rahal ran the most laps, 51, as he still looks for a good pace. The rest of the top five in laps run were Carlos Munoz, 49; Jay Howard, Helio Castroneves, Stefan Wilson, and Sage Karam 48 each; Josef Newgarden, 47. Of the high laps run group, Karam was quickest with the 12th best lap at 223.278.

We will begin to get answers in 15 and half hours from the time I’m writing this.

Herta Wins Exciting Freedom 100

When engines fired for the Indy Lights Freedom 100, I joked to my friend Brad that the race starts in 38 laps. This race has produced extremely close, four wide finishes with great racing in the last two laps. I was wrong. The small field raced every lap as if it were the final lap.

Twenty lead changes in a 40 lap race is unprecedented. Dalton Kellett, the polesitter, had the longest stretch in the lead, from lap 21-25. Colton Herta, who started sixth, took the lead on lap 39 and held off Patricio O’Ward by 0,0281 seconds. Yes that was close, but it is not in top four closest margins in Freedom 100 history.

The Day in Photos

Here are some photos from yesterday. Remember to rest tonight (Ha) get to the track early, and drink lots of water. Enjoy the race.

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Colton Herta takes the lead during the Freedom 100.

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Danica Patrick returns to the track after a trip to the garage to repair electrical problems.

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Pit road is always busy on Carb Day.

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James Davison leads Takuma Sato in turn 1.

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Spencer Pigot leaves his pit box.

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Pit stop practice for Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter.

Final Thoughts- Qualifying Weekend

What do Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Rahal, Al Unser, Jr., and Emerson Fittipaldi have in common? There are two things. They won a combined six Indianapolis 500s, and they each failed to qualify for an Indianapolis 500. It can happen to the best. Great drivers-popular drivers-  have missed the race from time to time. The series moves on and the race goes on. There is a season to run, and the Indianapolis 500 will be back next year.

Saturday was one of the most intriguing, compelling Bump Days I have seen. It is nice to know that after a seven year absence, bumping is still the heart of qualifying. I’m glad it has returned.

Can We Ditch the Fast Nine?

The Fast Nine was a good idea when there were only 33 entries. It did add a bit of excitement to what was an otherwise ho hum weekend where no one was going to miss the race.

This year the Fast Nine was anticlimactic. It is time to put it away until the next year only 33 cars show up. Removing it would solve a major hiccup in the qualifying procedure.

Near the end of Saturday some teams were scrambling to make the field and others went out to attempt to makea the Fast Nine.  This is confusing to teams and fans. Who gets priority? The groups need to be separated.

Saturday should be running for the pole, and Sunday should be for making the race. With the pole decided on Saturday, the speedway and Indycar can promote the winner on Sunday’s qualifying show in addition to having a Sunday morning headline.

Notes

In years past I have watched drivers on television after they failed to qualify for the 500. I heard the disappointment in sadness in their voices, the tears in their eyes and thought I knew how sad they were feeling. Seeing that emotion in person Saturday evening at Pippa Mann’s press conference, however, really drove home how much this race means to the drivers who base their entire year on being in the 500.

Ed Carpenter and Scott Dixon have combined to win five of the last six poles at Indy. James Hinchcliffe is the only other pole winner in that stretch.

Saturday’s crowd was low because of the weather. yesterday’s crowd seemed smaller than last year’s Sunday attendance.

Indy Lights has two sessions today. The first round is from 10:45-11:30. The next round is at 4:30 after the Indycar  practice from 12:30-4. Indycar practice is streamed. There is no streaming for the Lights practices.

Aaron Telitz on Pit Lane Parley

Indy Lights driver Aaron Telitz is this week’s guest on Pit Lane Parley. Tune in at 3:15 EDT Friday on wildfireradiosports.com