CFH Racing looks to turn things around once again at Milwaukee

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Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing needs a Hail Mary. Again.

The first one, a 1-2 finish (the first in team history) at Toronto, came after Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden both exited the Firestone 600 at Texas within laps of each other due to mechanical problems.

Now the two-car team hopes the Milwaukee Mile and the ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250 will play host to another rebound after Newgarden and Carpenter wrecked with each other at Fontana two weeks ago.

“Milwaukee is one of the most fun and challenging tracks on the circuit and it’s always a driver favorite,” Carpenter said about the Milwaukee Mile in a release.

“We had a strong car last year, so I’m even more excited to be coming back with the new Chevy aero kit.”

Last year, Carpenter started seventh and led three laps before finishing ninth. In his 10 starts there, Carpenter has never finished better than seventh (2008) and has two DNF’s.

Newgarden, who has two wins this season (Barber, Toronto) and is ninth in points, will make his fourth Milwaukee start. He looks to improve off his 2014 performance of fifth after finishing 11th in 2013 and 25th in 2012 (DNF).

“I’m excited to get to Milwaukee, it’s one of the best tracks we go to all year and it’s one of my favorites,” Newgarden said.

“It’s really unique as it’s the only flat, one-mile oval we race on. To me, it almost drives more like a road course than an oval. As a guy with a road racing background, I’ve always loved going to that place.”

Ahead of Sunday’s race, which airs live at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, Carpenter has been in Milwaukee to promote the race. Tuesday morning, Carpenter appeared on the local Fox station.

Monday night, he threw out the first pitch at a Brewers’ home game.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.