Dixon, Tagliani compete to raise money for charities

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If you’re planning to visit the Indiana State Fair this summer, be sure to have your camera phones ready, for you might just see former Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon (pictured) on a tricycle wearing a sheep costume. Or Barracuda Racing’s Alex Tagliani doing the same thing dressed as a beaver.

Those are the potential outcomes for the loser in Dixon and Tagliani’s online bet to see who can raise the most money for their respective charities through the Power of 2 initiative. Fans can donate to the IndyCar drivers’ causes at Power-Of-2.org as many times as they wish through Thursday, July 18 at 8 p.m. ET.

Dixon is supporting New Zealand-based cancer charity CanTeen and American-based group Teens Living With Cancer, while Tagliani is raising money for Anaphylaxis Canada.

“I’ve been a strong supporter and spokesperson for both CanTeen and Teens Living with Cancer because I feel this age group often gets overlooked,” Dixon said in a press release. “Oftentimes, people immediately think of either helping children or adults, but teenagers are going through a lot to begin with at this stage in their lives. It’s one of the most difficult stages of your life – even without the added difficulties of fighting cancer.”

“As someone with a severe food allergy to peanuts and tree nuts, I can tell you that an anaphylactic reaction is far more frightening than driving a race car,” Tagliani said in the same release. “Helping kids better manage their allergies and live safely is something I am very passionate about. I also can’t wait to see Scott get on the kid’s bike in his sheep costume.”

Fans that donate will also have the chance to win prizes such as a signed racing helmet from Dixon or Tagliani, and a phone/Skype call with them.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.