Ed Carpenter is an American racing driver and team owner who competes in the IndyCar Series since 2003, running his own team Ed Carpenter Racing since 2012. In 165 starts (until 2017), Carpenter scored three IndyCar victories and seven podiums. His career-best finish was 12th place in the 2009 season. Besides three wins, Carpenter's greatest achievements are two pole positions at Indianapolis 500 in 2013 and 2014.
Earlier in a career, Ed Carpenter was a successful racer in different USAC competitions but also in the Infiniti Pro Series (now Indy Light). He finished third in the IPS standings in 2002 and 2003.
Young Edward moved to Indianapolis
Everette Edward Carpenter Jr. was born on March 3, 1981, in Paris, Illinois. At the age 8, he moved to Indianapolis. His stepfather is Tony George, the president and CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation since 1989, also known as the Indy Racing League founder. Being a witness of stepfather's involvement into the top class of the motorsport, Ed started his career very early, participating in midget races.
First racing steps in the USAC competitions
Carpenter intensified his racing activities in the late 1990s and early 2000s, participating in different USAC (United States Automobile Club) competitions, such were USAC Regional Series, USAC National Midget Series, USAC Silver Crown Series or USAC Sprint Series.
Third place in a battle of descendants
In 2002, while still competing in USAC championships, Carpenter debuted in the newly-formed Infiniti Pro Series, driving the #2 Dallara-Infiniti for Sinden Racing. With three podiums in seven races, he finished third in the championship standings, behind AJ Foyt IV and Arie Luyendyk Jr, who were also descendants of Indy Car legends AJ Foyt and Arie Luyendyk.
Maiden win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
In 2003, Carpenter moved to A. J. Foyt Enterprises to drive the #14 car. His maiden victory came at the series' most prestigious race, the Futaba Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Carpenter dominated in that event, starting from pole, leading most laps, setting the fastest lap and finally winning the 40-lap race.
Later in the season, he scored three more podiums to finish in the third place again, behind Mark Taylor and Jeff Simmons.
Indy Car Series debut in 2003, first full season in 2004
As one of leading Infiniti Pro Series drivers, Carpenter had an opportunity to make one step up during the 2003 season, participating in three IndyCar Series races with PDM Racing's #18 Dallara-Chevrolet. He had Indy Car debut at the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway, finishing in the 13th place. He raced for PDM in two more races, at California Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
For the 2004 IndyCar season, Carpenter was hired to drive a full season in the #52 Chevrolet of Red Bull Cheever Racing. Carpenter's best finish was 8th place at Kentucky Speedway. In the Indianapolis 500 debut, he was 16th on the starting grid and finished in 31st place due to a crash after 62 laps.
Moving to stepfather's Vision Racing in 2005
In 2005, Ed Carpenter joined a new team Vision Racing, formed by his stepfather Tony George, who purchased the equipment from Kelley Racing. Carpenter was driving the #20 Dallara-Toyota, finishing best in the 10th place at Nashville Superspeedway. At 2005 Indianapolis 500, Carpenter was 11th. At the end of the season, he was 18th in the points.
In 2005, Carpenter also had a one-off appearance in the Infiniti Pro Series with Vision Racing's car, in the road course race at Indianapolis, where he finished 11th.
Four more IndyCar seasons with Vision Racing
Ed Carpenter spent four more seasons with Vision Racing, driving #20 Dallara-Honda until 2009. In that period, he was progressing in the championship standings, reaching his career-best result in 2009, when he was 12th in the points. That year, he scored his first IndyCar podium, finishing in the second place at Kentucky Speedway, 0.0162 seconds behind Ryan Briscoe.
At Indianapolis 500, Carpenter scored two Top 10 results with Vision Racing. In 2008, he finished fifth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A year later, he crossed the finish line in the 8th place.
Serious crash at Homestead-Miami
A period of a career that Carpenter spent with Vision Racing is also remembered by serious crash he had in March 2006, at the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami. During the warmup practice session, he was involved in a crash with Paul Dana, who died soon after an accident.
Carpenter had been airlifted to a hospital and was released the next day suffering bruised lungs. He missed only one race after that crash.
Two Daytona 24h attempts with Vision Racing's prototypes
While competing with Vision Racing in the Indy Car Series, Carpenter recorded his sole participation in the greatest American sports car endurance race, the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona. He was sharing Vision Racing's #00 Riley-Porsche prototype with Tomas Scheckter, Tony George, A. J. Foyt IV and Stephan Grégoire. They stopped due to engine problems after 587 laps, being classified 29th overall.
A year later, one more DNF followed at Daytona 24h race. This time, Vision Racing was running the #03 Crawford-Porsche prototype. Carpenter's co-drivers were A.J. Foyt IV, Vitor Meira and John Andretti.
One more Kentucky podium in 2010
After spending five seasons with Vision Racing, Carpenter was forced to find a new team because Vision Racing lost its sponsors and shut down as a full-time entry. Vision Racing and Panther Racing cooperated to run #20 Dallara-Honda for Ed at Indianapolis 500, where he finished 17th. Later in a season, he participated in three more races. At Kentucky Indy 300, he scored his second podium in a career, starting from pole and finishing second, behind Helio Castroneves.
Maiden IndyCar victory at Kentucky Speedway
In 2011, Carpenter joined Sarah Fisher Racing to run a part-time schedule with #67 Dallara-Honda, starting from Indy 500 in May. Until the end of the season, he participated in eleven races.
Carpenter proved once more that Kentucky Speedway suits him the most, as he scored his maiden IndyCar victory there. Carpenter started in 4th place and led for 8 laps. In the closing laps, he battled against Dario Franchitti, beating him by 0.0098 seconds, the series' closest finish at the track.
At the season-ending race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Carpenter started third and was running in 2nd place when a major accident happened, in which Dan Wheldon lost his life.
Ed Carpenter founded his own team in 2012
In November 2011, Ed Carpenter announced the creation of his own team, simply branded Ed Carpenter Racing, with an intention to run full-season in the 2012 IndyCar Series. The team's co-owners were Tony George and Fuzzy Zoeller. Fuzzy's Premium Vodka became the main sponsor of #20 Chevrolet.
After just two Top 10 results (Milwaukee Mile, Iowa Speedway), Ed Carpenter claimed the first victory with his own team at the season-ending MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway, beating Dario Franchitti. Carpenter finished the season ranked in 18th place.
Fastest qualifier at 2013 Indianapolis 500
In 2013, the start of the season wasn't good, as Carpenter's best result was 14th place at St. Petersburg. And then, Carpenter sensationally took the pole position at the Indianapolis 500, beating five Andretti Autosport's and three Team Penske's drivers in the Fast Nine Shootout. In the race, he led for most laps (37) but dropped to 10th place due to handling issues in the second half of the race.
Later in a season, Carpenter's best result was second place at the season-ending race at Auto Club Speedway. At the end of the season, he was 16th in the points.
2014 - one more Indianapolis 500 pole
In 2014 IndyCar Series season, Ed Carpenter Racing hired Mike Conway to drive the road course races and street circuits. Ed Carpenter participated in six races at ovals. At Indianapolis 500, he qualified on pole position for the second year in a row.
One more driver of his team, JR Hildebrand, participated in the Fast 9 Shootout, taking 9th starting position for the race. In the race, Carpenter was leading for 26 laps. He crashed out on lap 176, after having a contact with James Hinchcliffe which sent them both into the wall.
Third IndyCar win of a career at Texas
In the next race, the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, Carpenter qualified 5th and battled against Will Power for the victory. After 248 laps, Carpenter was half a second ahead of Power, scoring his third IndyCar win in a career.
Later in a season, Carpenter scored one more great result, finishing third in the season-closing race at Fontana, despite problems in qualifying and a drive-through penalty in a race.
Forming CFH Racing with Sarah Fisher
For the 2015 IndyCar season, Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing formed the CFH Racing. CFH stands for Carpenter, Fisher and Hartman. They made a deal that Carpenter will run the #20 Chevrolet at ovals while Luca Filippi will do the rest of the season.
Carpenter first competed at the Indianapolis 500. He crashed on the morning of Pole Day qualifying. Using a back-up car, he qualified 12th for the race but didn't finish the race after having an accident with Oriol Servia. In other five races, his best result was sixth place at Iowa Speedway.
Back to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2016
The merger of two teams lasted for just one season. In 2016, Ed Carpenter Racing continued to run as an independent team, combining Ed Carpenter and 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot in the #20 Chevrolet. The team entered the second car for the full season, the #21 for Josef Newgarden, who was under contract with Sarah Fisher since 2012.
Carpenter participated in five races, with results lot worse than before. The 18th place at Iowa and Texas was his best finish. On the other side, Josef Newgarden was among the front-runners, winning one race and finishing fourth in the championship points.
Racing only at ovals
For the 2017 IndyCar Series season, Ed Carpenter announced his participation in oval track races only, as in the previous seasons, with Spencer Pigot in the #20 car for the rest of the season. The #21 car also stays in the team. After Josef Newgarden moved to Team Penske, JR Hildebrand takes over #21 car for the full season.
The same situation follows in 2018, with Spencer Pigot as a full-time driver in the #21 car while Ed would share the #20 car with rookie Jordan King.