Ed Carpenter Racing’s return to IndyCar made official

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As broken yesterday by Wichita, Kansas CBS affiliate KWCH, Wink Hartman is out of the Verizon IndyCar Series for 2016. Now, formal confirmation has come with a press release out Thursday confirming the end of CFH Racing (Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing) and a return to Ed Carpenter Racing for 2016 and beyond.

The team’s full release is below:


A familiar name will be part of Verizon IndyCar Series in 2016 as Ed Carpenter Racing returns to competition. Team officials announced today that the organization that operated as CFH Racing in 2015 will be known as Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR), effective immediately. The team will remain headquartered in its current location at 1255 Main Street in Speedway, Ind. Ed Carpenter, Tony George and Stuart Reed are the owners of ECR.

“After competing for a year as CFH Racing, we will be returning to ECR for 2016 and beyond,” stated Ed Carpenter. “While we had a great year as CFH Racing, we have had some partnership changes within the organization and it makes the most sense to return to ECR. I am proud of what we have accomplished as a team since we started in 2012 and look forward to building upon that success for another exciting Verizon IndyCar Series season.”

ECR and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) combined their single-car teams in August of 2014 to create CFH Racing. During their 2015 campaign, CFH won two races with Josef Newgarden, collected an additional three podium finishes and a earned a pole position.

Moving forward, SFHR’s Wink Hartman will return his focus to his company, Wichita, Kan.-based Hartman Oil. Sarah Fisher will concentrate on her new business venture, Speedway Indoor Karting, set to open on April 1. Fisher and her husband Andy O’Gara are finalizing construction on their new 60,000-square-foot facility, also located on Main Street.

Fisher will continue to assist ECR with sponsorship development and work with existing team partners.

“It’s important for IndyCar to have strong entries on grid and this team needs to be two of them, so I will do what I can to help them with business developments and continue with solutions for our current partners,” said Fisher.

“I am lucky to have been an owner in this series for eight years, having incredible memories along the way. Lastly, I am extremely thankful to Wink and Libba Hartman for everything they’ve done to help us get to where we are today.”

Newgarden will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet for ECR in 2016, featuring a special Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka scheme for the first four events. Carpenter will remain the driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet during the five oval events.

ECR is continuing to work toward filling the seat of the No. 20 for the road and street course events, but at this time has plans to compete on only the ovals.

“ECR is in a great position as we head into 2016 and have support from great partners like Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka and Direct Supply. We have been a Chevrolet team from the beginning, so we’re excited to continue that relationship and help them win another championship.” Carpenter continued. “We have had a very productive off-season and our plans are well underway for a successful year.”

The same year ECR began, Newgarden was hired to drive for SFHR after winning the 2011 Indy Lights championship.

“I may never have had the chance to race an Indy car if it was not for Wink Hartman, Libba Hartman, Sarah Fisher and Andy O’Gara. They really were a huge turning point in my career and helped me break into the professional level. Their support was everything and more that a young driver could ask for,” commented Newgarden.

“Moving forward, I’m extremely excited about 2016 with Ed Carpenter Racing. I enjoy working with Ed Carpenter so much, as both a teammate and a team owner. I look forward to putting 100 percent into the season and trying to achieve greater and bigger results. With the entire ECR team and the Chevy partnership we have, I feel there is absolutely nothing that can stand in our way from topping our very promising season in 2015.”

Ed Carpenter Racing will return to the track at Phoenix International Raceway on February 8 for their first test of the year. The 2016 season Verizon IndyCar Series season will open on Sunday, March 13 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
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To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

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“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”