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Long Hours By ECR Crew Pays Off As Carpenter Qualifies for Indy 500 Sunday

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Ed Carpenter, Indianapolis 500

Long Hours By ECR Crew Pays Off As Carpenter Qualifies for Indy 500 Sunday

Tom Blattler
Ed Carpenter Racing
May 20, 2012

Ed Carpenter
May 20th 2012 - INDIANAPOLIS – Ed Carpenter Racing crew members took a nap near the pit wall at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before Sunday’s qualifications and everyone knew why. Team owner/driver Carpenter didn’t mind it a bit.

After Carpenter’s Saturday qualifying crash in turn two, the ECR crew spent hours into the night in the Fuzzy’s Vodka garage rebuilding the No. 20T backup machine in preparation for Sunday’s Bump Day time trials. At 4 p.m.Saturday, the team began the process of prepping the second Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet Dallara car.

It was Carpenter’s first contact with an IMS wall since 2004. The rebuilt car included new wiring, suspension pieces, new bodywork, another gearbox as well as a new twin-turbo V-6 Chevrolet engine. Led by general manager Derrick Walker and team manager Tim Broyles, the ECR squad meticulously worked through the new car as the engineering staff planned its strategy for a Sunday qualifying run.

The team rolled out the new mount at 1:30 p.m. and Carpenter made a few practice laps before his four-lap qualifying attempt. Fighting high temperatures (88 air and 123 track surface), Ed calmly recorded laps of 222.718, 222.450, 221.940 and 222.188 miles per hour for a four-lap speed of 222.324 m.p.h. Due to the first 24 spots locked in Saturday, Carpenter will start 28th next Sunday in the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

Carpenter was extremely proud of his team’s effort to prepare the backup car and qualify for his first Indy 500 as a team owner. On the track PA system, Ed praised his team’s dedication to give him a solid car Sunday. In the afternoon, Carpenter and the team returned to the famed 2.5-mile oval for race setup practice laps. The car’s handling improved throughout the afternoon runs.

Carpenter will continue his busy schedule for the upcoming week with a media tour in Cincinnati Monday, and media interviews, sponsor appearances and charity events through the week before he returns to the track Friday for legendary Carb Day, the final practice session prior to Sunday’s Indy 500.

“This Fuzzy’s team did a great job getting this 20T car together for today,” said Carpenter, who fields the only single-car team with a Chevrolet or Honda engine. “So I am happy we are in the race and we can work on our race setup now. We went a little conservative with the qualifying run, just so we can get in the show. The whole crew just put their heads down and began preparing the back up at around 4 p.m. Saturday. No complaining. Just a bunch of professional guys. I’m really, really proud of them. We found some things last night that were hampering us. The whole month just didn’t go as we had scripted it. I think I have been lucky for the last few years here with first day qualifying. I guess this year it was our tough one. I remember Ryan Hunter Reay was my teammate a few years back and he barely made it, then last year he had to get in after qualifying but this year he is on the front row. So it goes in cycles. Things can change in a hurry here. But one thing that doesn’t change is my confidence. I think we can get a good race setup and be in the thick of things by the end of the race. We have had good race cars recently too. I know we have a good crew and we’ll work hard to have a solid car next Sunday.”

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