Carpenter: Potential there for ECR to fight for IndyCar entrant title

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Between the road/street course prowess of Mike Conway and the oval mastery of Ed Carpenter, the group at Ed Carpenter Racing could find their No. 20 Chevrolet fighting toward the front more regularly in the 2014 IndyCar Series.

But what about a possible entrant’s championship as well? Carpenter, a two-time IndyCar race winner, seems confident that his team can pull it off – if they can keep from making mistakes in a competitive series where problems are magnified.

“It’s a rarity, but I feel like we have all the tools and the combined talent of Mike and I and the team’s overall ability, the potential is there to make [an entrant’s championship] a reality,” Carpenter said as part of an INDYCAR offseason report. “Like everything, it’s going to come down to execution and overachieving every weekend.”

Conway will be driving the No. 20 Chevy in all road and street events this coming season, while Carpenter has relegated himself to ovals-only duty for the greater good of his franchise.

Carpenter says he really started exploring the idea of stepping out of the car for road races after the 2013 season ended, and feels like he’s made the right choice to help bolster his team’s presence in the series.

“It’s definitely going to be an adjustment,” he said. “I’m still going to have the mentality of a driver on those weekends. I think I’ll be able to bring additional help to the team and help Mike and certainly have a little more time to focus on the business side of things.

“That’s the main objective…Making sure Ed Carpenter Racing is in a position to be sustainable and be a long-standing team in the series.”

Carpenter was an observer as Conway tested the No. 20 at Sebring International Raceway before the Christmas holiday. The English driver, who won last year in Race 1 at the Detroit Belle Isle doubleheader, turned more than 200 laps during that test and all indications are that he’s fitting in nicely at ECR.

“It’s just a really good fit for what he wants to do, what his skill set is and his professional approach is really in line with how we operate,” Carpenter said of his new teammate’s role. “It’s early, but we’ll all expecting to do great things.”

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.