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Ed Carpenter Racing set to move shops at end of year

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SONOMA, Calif. – Ed Carpenter Racing made a 2018 driver announcement on Wednesday with confirmation Spencer Pigot is set to move into a full-time seat in the Verizon IndyCar Series, replacing JR Hildebrand.

Carpenter’s got another move of a bigger variety about 2018 coming up at the end of the calendar year.

NBC Sports can confirm the team will move shops from its hub on Main St. in downtown Speedway, Ind., at 1255 Main St., in the shadow of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to the former Forsythe Racing shop located at 7231 Georgetown Rd., in Indianapolis next season.

Carpenter said the team will have to vacate its existing shop in Speedway by December 31, and is scheduled to move into the old Forsythe shop before January, 2018. The team’s staff has been informed of the change of location.

That Forsythe shop most recently housed the Nissan LMP1 program, which was shuttered in December, 2015 after racing only once at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Wink Hartman, the former co-owner of the team then known as CFH Racing following the 2014 amalgamation of the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing teams, owns the building in Speedway. Hartman is now running for Governor of Kansas and ceased being an official team co-owner once CFH Racing dissolved following 2015, and the team revived the Ed Carpenter Racing name before 2016.

A new tenant is likely for 2018, with rumors swirling it could be either Carlin, which has not formally announced a step-up to the Verizon IndyCar Series from its Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires program, or Harding Racing, which leased space in Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s shop in Indianapolis this year for its initial three-race entry with driver Gabby Chaves.

Carlin’s Indy Lights team is based in Delray Beach, Florida.

Carpenter’s team concludes the 2017 season with Pigot and Hildebrand this weekend, in Hildebrand’s home race not far from his hometown of Sausalito, Calif. and in his last scheduled drive with the team he’s been with over parts of the last four seasons.

NHRA: Dodge/Mopar to unveil new Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car today in Denver

Photos/video courtesy Dodge/Mopar
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If you’re a fan of NHRA Funny Car racing and Dodge/Mopar, you may notice something different at this weekend’s Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in suburban Denver, Colorado.

Two-time (2011 and 2014) NHRA Funny Car champ Matt Hagan – who has won the last two NHRA national events in the last four weeks – will be piloting a newly-designed 2019 Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, a 10,000-horsepower Funny Car that makes its debut today at Dodge/Mopar’s premier NHRA national event.

The new Charger SRT Hellcat succeeds the former Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, which had been in use since 2015.

“We improved on the body design,” Hagan said of the new Charger Hellcat. “It was already a great design, a great body. But now, we’re going to have a little more downforce, a little more traction on these racetracks and it will be a huge performance advantage.”

The new Hellcat includes a number of innovations, including a new front splitter to increase downforce. Just like its predecessor, the R/T, the Hellcat will go head-to-head with Chevrolet’s Camaro in the NHRA Funny Car ranks.

“We will be able to press harder with more downforce on the nose, which translates into huge amounts of downforce on the run,” Hagan said.

According to a media release, the new Hellcat features major design changes in three key areas: the front end, bodysides and burst panel placement:

* “At the front, the shape of the nose has been tweaked and a new splitter (photo), built of carbon fiber and Kevlar like the rest of the Funny Car body, has been added. The splitter substantially mimics the look and shape of the production vehicle’s splitter while generating greater downforce to help plant the Funny Car to the track.

* “Bodyside scallops have been redesigned to more closely identify with the production Hellcat while also enhancing on-track function and performance. The deeper character lines provide greater visual ties to the street version of the Hellcat, while also helping to mitigate the “body burn” common on all Funny Cars due to the close positioning of the exhaust headers.

* “The location of the burst panel on the hood has also been reworked. The panel is now centered over the top of the engine to more efficiently release energy and pressure in the event of engine issues, a common occurrence in race cars that are pushed to the razor’s edge of performance.”

Since the R/T was first introduced into the Don Schumacher Racing corps, it has gone on to 50 wins, 42 runner-up finishes and 40 No. 1 qualifiers in NHRA national events and one NHRA Funny Car World Championship (Ron Capps, 2016).

The new Charger SRT Hellcat, which can exceed 330-plus mph and covers 1,000 feet in under four seconds, is the drag strip version of the supercharged, 707-horsepower production Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world.

While Hagan will drive the first Hellcat, his other three Dodge-powered DSR teammates – Capps, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. – will soon take delivery of their own versions of the car over the remaining 11 races of the 2018 season.

One day after winning two weeks ago at Norwalk, Ohio, Hagan and crew chief Dickie Venables put the new Hellcat through its paces with several test runs. The results were so strong that it was decided to debut the car at Denver and run all qualifying and elimination rounds with it.

“We made four good, solid runs in testing at Norwalk,” said Hagan. “We put the body through a lot of different things and were really, really pleased with it.

“I really think it’s going to translate over to performance on the race track, and hopefully more win lights in the future.”

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