Carpenter, SFHR top single-car teams in year before fusion into CFH

1 Comment

You wouldn’t know it from the final driver standings with Ed Carpenter in 22nd (262 points) and Mike Conway 23rd (252), but as a combined unit, the drivers of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet had the eighth most points in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season with 514 and was the best overall single-car team.

On their own, Conway had a best finish of 17th in (2009, 2011) and Carpenter a best of 12th (2009).

My colleague Chris Estrada touched on this the other night, but Carpenter could afford to be frustrated with third in Saturday’s MAVTV 500 given his pit lane speed limiter went out and he incurred a pit lane speeding violation. Without the time lost, he could well have captured his second win at the track in three years.

Still, Carpenter’s Texas win and Conway’s two left the Ed Carpenter Racing team with three wins this year, which tied Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport for the second most wins by a team this season. Team Penske had a series-high five.

In the driver’s standings, the single driver on a single-car team who finished highest was Josef Newgarden, in 13th for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Newgarden struggled through the first half of the year but ended with five top-10s in the final eight races to advance from 20th to 13th in points, driving the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda.

The two teams merge to form CFH Racing in 2015. Newgarden is already signed, and Carpenter will run the ovals as he did this year.

Of the other three drivers on single-car teams, rookie Jack Hawksworth was 17th for Bryan Herta Autosport, Takuma Sato was 18th for A.J. Foyt Enterprises and Graham Rahal was 19th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. RLL ran a second car at eight races but neither Oriol Servia or Luca Filippi had much in the way of luck or results.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”