Mike Conway starred in his street course cameos this season in IndyCar. Now, look forward to seeing the English “silent assassin” at all road and street course events in 2014.
Initially broke by RACER and confirmed almost immediately thereafter by the team, Conway will join Ed Carpenter Racing as the road and street course driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, replacing the eponymous team owner. Carpenter will continue on all oval races, including the Indianapolis 500.
“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Mike Conway to the Ed Carpenter Racing family,” Carpenter said in the team release. “My partners, (team manager) Tim Broyles, and I are committed to building an organization based on culture, sustainability, and performance. We are very proud of the group of people we have assembled and bringing Mike into the fold creates an opportunity for us to show even more value to our partners and strengthen our team by competing for victories at every single event in the 2014 IndyCar Series.”
Added Conway, “It is great news to be back in IndyCar next year for all the road and street courses. I had a lot of fun this year in the select races that I could do and I hope that I can continue my success with Ed Carpenter Racing next year.”
Carpenter has made steady progress over the last two years on road and street courses working with driver coach Lee Bentham and former team manager Derrick Walker. The problem was, it was hard to notice unless you really examined the timesheets because it was a case of Carpenter clawing his way back from north of 3 seconds behind the leader to 1.2 to 1.5, which in the spec-car field, was still towards the bottom.
Conway made the decision to step out of IndyCars on ovals citing his discomfort at the tail end of the 2012 season. Meanwhile, Carpenter has performed one of racing’s most selfless acts in taking himself out of the driver’s seat for the betterment of his team. They should be all the better for it if the team’s engineering on road and street courses matches Conway’s ability behind the wheel.
“I have a great deal of respect for Ed Carpenter to have the vision to put Mike in the car for the street and road tracks,” said Mark Blundell, a former IndyCar race winner and Conway’s manager. “I think that the blend of his skill sets on the ovals combined with Mike’s talent and pace makes for a very strong combination over the 2014 season.”