IndyCar Photo

Briscoe stays in one place for all of next weekend: Toronto with Panther

Leave a comment

For the second weekend in a row, Ryan Briscoe will have two races. The difference is, this time they’ll be in the same car at the same track.

The Australian stays aboard the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet for the IZOD IndyCar Series’ trip to the streets of Toronto this upcoming weekend, for the doubleheader Honda Indy Toronto.

He’s coming off a weekend where he won the P2 class in the American Le Mans Series in his Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b, then rose from 24th and last to 14th on Sunday in the Panther Chevrolet in Pocono. The P2 win was controversial after late race contact with another HPD, driven by Guy Cosmo of Extreme Speed Motorsports.

Panther Racing managing partner John Barnes confirmed the news via Twitter Monday morning.

Barnes likes Briscoe enough that it seems he’s working to keep him for as many races as possible, even despite the schedule conflicts with ALMS, and the fact Oriol Servia has also raced the No. 4 car and has no other conflicts.

Briscoe has racked up the frequent flier miles over the last two months. Starting May 11 in Monterey, he raced the Level 5 HPD there, then headed to Indianapolis to drive Chip Ganassi’s fourth car for the month of May.

In June, he made his Panther debut at Detroit, flew to Le Mans to test the Level 5 HPD, flew back to Milwaukee for Panther, flew back to Le Mans for the 24-hour race, then had an off weekend before resuming with the doubleheader across states and series this past weekend.

There are two more weekend conflicts the remainder of this season between IndyCar and ALMS. On October 5-6, IndyCar is in Houston while ALMS is at Virginia on the Saturday, and on Oct. 19, both have their season finales in Fontana (IndyCar) and Atlanta (ALMS). The Atlanta race starts earlier in the day.

Oh, and there’s also Baltimore Aug. 31-Sept. 1 when IndyCar and ALMS share the weekend, and Briscoe could hop between both cars. At this point, you can’t rule anything out about where and in what car he’ll be racing the rest of the year.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.