Double whammy: Ed Carpenter takes blame for team woes

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FORT WORTH – In the span of three laps, the hopes of Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing in the Firestone 600 were gone. Although there wasn’t that much hope to begin with for the driver – or the fused team – that won this race last year.

After starting 15th, team co-owner and driver Ed Carpenter was the first to have his night end when his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet lost an engine on Lap 147.

Two laps later, his teammate, Josef Newgarden lost the drive in his No. 67 Hartman Oil Chevrolet. Carpenter and Newgarden finished 22nd and 21st, respectively.

Two cars gone in three laps.

“We were just riding around, finishing the race when something let go in the car. We were in no way, shape, or form in contention,” Carpenter said.

“It’s disappointing. We’ve been strong here for the past couple of years. We have good road course cars right now, we just haven’t been able to get this package sorted out for the ovals.”

For Carpenter, who only runs oval races, it was his second DNF of the season after he crashed out of the Indianapolis 500.

For Newgarden, who has one win in 2015, it was his second DNF in a row and his third finish of 20th or worse in five races.

“We’re not sure what happened yet, we just lost drive,” Newgarden said. “It was a tough weekend, we struggled all weekend with the car’s handling. We did everything we could to make it better. We did a good job keeping it in the race, we just didn’t have enough for everyone. Capping it off with losing drive was a hard way to end the weekend.”

The result came after both cars qualified 14th and 15th, and Carpenter recorded the 22nd fastest speed in both practice sessions.

“We need to get this figured out. We haven’t had cars this bad in a long time,” Carpenter told NBCSN. “I’m part of the problem, because I’m not helping us get a solution. Really disappointing. Feel terrible for Fuzzy’s and the Hartman’s and everyone that helps us do this. We’re underachieving big time.”

Newgarden, who is CFH Racing’s only full-season driver, is now ninth in the points standings after entering the weekend eighth. Luca Filippi will return to the No. 20 car in Toronto next week.