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IndyCar 2016 team preview: Ed Carpenter Racing

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NBC Sports takes a look through the teams competing in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series. Back to just Ed Carpenter Racing for 2016, it’s a big year ahead for the mostly single-car team and for the team’s star driver, Josef Newgarden.

Team: Ed Carpenter Racing
Engine/aero kits: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Fuzzy’s Vodka (Nos. 20, 21)

2015 STATS

Races: 16
Wins: 2 (Newgarden 2)
Podiums: 5 (Newgarden 4, Filippi 1)
Pole Positions: 1 (Newgarden 1)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 701 (Newgarden 431, Filippi 182, Carpenter 88)
Laps Led: 348 (Newgarden 345, Filippi 2, Carpenter 1)
Championship Position: 7th (Newgarden), 21st (Filippi), 27th (Carpenter)

2016 LINEUP (Engineer in parentheses)

20 Ed Carpenter (Matt Barnes)
21 Josef Newgarden (Jeremy Milless)

2015 RECAP (Newgarden, Filippi, Carpenter driver recaps)

Considering there was a fusion of Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing prior to the season, you would have hardly figured it was a new, merged team situation because the team clicked well as CFH Racing. Newgarden finally got the 0-for-career win monkey off his back at Barber and added a second win at Toronto for good measure, leading a 1-2 over Filippi. He also led the field in most laps led, which was an incredible achievement. Carpenter had a tough year in the cockpit, and various factors contributed to a business change in the offseason with a reduction back to ECR and with the second car unlikely to run beyond the five ovals.

2016 OUTLOOK

Carpenter’s a smart businessman and still one of the best oval drivers in the series, and as he’s got Newgarden for possibly just one more year, this marks driver and team’s best – and perhaps last – chance to go get a title together. Newgarden’s big change this year is with a new strategist, expected to be Brent Harvey, replacing Andy O’Gara. Newgarden proved last year he can win and his qualifying also was among the best in the field. If he can get to three wins and add a few more podiums, he can contend for a title in his fifth season. Both he and Carpenter himself need better months of May after a nightmare scenario last year where they both crashed in the run-up to race day. You also wonder if JR Hildebrand will make his now-usual month of May appearance with the team in a potential third car, which would be a benefit to all parties.

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.