After winning 10 of the first 16 races in the 2014 season, Chevrolet has captured their third consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series manufacturer’s championship.
Contributing to the title with race wins are: Team Penske’s trio of IndyCar points leader Will Power (St. Petersburg, Detroit Race 1, Milwaukee), Helio Castroneves (Detroit Race 2), and Juan Pablo Montoya (Pocono); Ed Carpenter Racing’s Mike Conway (Long Beach, Toronto Race 2) and Ed Carpenter (Texas); KV Racing Technology’s Sebastien Bourdais (Toronto Race 1); and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon (Mid-Ohio).
Chevrolet Racing director Mark Kent said the following in a statement released today:
“Winning the 2014 IndyCar Series manufacturers’ championship with the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 twin turbo-charged direct-injected engine is the result of a collaborative and cooperative effort by our teams and technical partners. Chevrolet, Ilmor Engineering, Hitachi, GM Racing Powertrains, Pratt & Miller Engineering and all of our Chevy teams worked tirelessly on creating the combination of performance, reliability and efficiency required to win this title. Congratulations to everyone whose contributions have made this third consecutive championship possible.”
Last year, Chevy won the manufacturer’s title and the Indianapolis 500 with Tony Kanaan, but Honda got the driver’s championship with Dixon. Over the off-season, however, Dixon and the entire CGR outfit jumped to Chevy, which gave the Bowtie two of IndyCar’s “Big 3” teams.
The third member of that group, Andretti Autosport, made their own switch from Chevy to Honda. Andretti has since pitched in three wins for Honda this year (all by Ryan Hunter-Reay), while Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has posted two wins and rookie Carlos Huertas of Dale Coyne Racing has his upset from Houston Race 1.
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.