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Meet the Crew: Nick Cooper

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Nick Cooper

Meet the Crew: Nick Cooper

Tom Blattler
Ed Carpenter Racing
April 5, 2013

Nick Cooper
April 5th 2013 - Nick Cooper, a Chicago native, is a veteran IZOD IndyCar Series crewman with ten years of experience in the open-wheel racing tour. He has served on the IndyCar teams of Dale Coyne Racing, Rahal Letterman Racing and Newman Haas Racing before joining Ed Carpenter Racing in 2012. Cooper is part of the “over the wall” team for pit stops at ECR, as Nick changes the outside rear tires on the No. 20 ECR/Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet machine.

Nick, how did you get started in racing?
“My sister, Laura, moved to Elkhart Lake, Wis., and started dating a Skip Barber racing school instructor. So I got into the sport as a mechanic through the Barber school. My dad owned an auto parts store so I was interested in working on cars. But I never thought about racing myself. I didn’t really follow racing. I just went to the school and started working on Vipers there. Then I started watching the road racing and getting into that. So Barber gave me a job and I couldn’t believe it.”

When did you get into IndyCar Racing?
“I started with Dale Coyne Racing in 2003 and then straight to Rahal Letterman Racing in 2004 and worked on Vitor’s (Meira) car. We won Indy in 2004 with Buddy (Rice) but I wasn’t on his team. We were close to winning Indy in 2005 with Vitor when he was second to (Dan) Wheldon. Vitor was fast that day and without the late yellow flag, we might have won it too.

What is your most memorable moment in racing so far?
“Winning my first IndyCar race at Watkins Glen (2007) with Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and the Rahal team. But winning last year at Fontana with Ed was really special too. We won the Rookie of the Year with Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) when I was at Newman Haas (Racing), but I wasn’t on a winning team there.”

What is different about working with Ed from other drivers?
“Oh, Ed is nice and very cool. He is like a working-class dude. He doesn’t seem like a regular Indy Car driver. Nothing against the other guys, but Ed is very down to earth and easy to deal with. Hinch was like Ed too, really nice to the mechanics. That helps the team’s morale.”

What did you notice when you came to Ed Carpenter Racing last year?
“Well, I didn’t really know any of the guys except Paul Hicks. So everyone was new to me. To be honest, this is one of the best teams I have worked with in my career. We have several guys from the Andretti teams and they have a good attitude over there. So it has been pretty easy to work with the crew. It is nice to have that influence from guys like Tim Broyles (ECR team manager). He was at Andretti previously.”

Do you have any goals for this year?
“To win Indy and then some of the ovals and finish in the top-ten on the road courses would be nice too. But Indy is definitely a goal for the team this year. Actually, it’s a goal every year. Ed is getting much better on the roads too.

How do like the Barber Motorsports Park?
“It is a very nice racing facility. And it’s good for the race fans too. I wish the track was a little wider for the IndyCars. I think the racing would be a little better. But, overall, it is a good place to go and see the IndyCars in action.” - See more at: http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/Meet-the-Crew-Nick-Cooper.news#sthash.9WzhzYyV.dpuf

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