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Fuzzy’s Vodka ends seven-year sponsorship of Ed Carpenter Racing

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Ed Carpenter Racing will no longer be sporting the familiar green-and-white colors of Fuzzy’s Vodka.

The IndyCar Series team announced that after seven seasons, Fuzzy’s will not return in 2019 as primary sponsor for either team owner Ed Carpenter’s Chevrolet-powered car nor the car of Spencer Pigot.

According to a ECR media release, “Fuzzy’s Vodka will concentrate on business initiatives outside of motorsports moving forward.”

However, the team also noted that Fuzzy’s pullout will not affect its 2019 plans for Carpenter’s No. 20 or Pigot’s No. 21.

Carpenter will once again compete in the series’ five oval track races, Pigot will drive in all 17 races, and newly-signed Ed Jones will drive on road and street courses that Carpenter does not compete in, as well as race in the Indy 500.

Fuzzy’s departure marks the end of a relationship that began in 2012 and included 118 races and produced 16 podium finishes, including two wins apiece by Carpenter and Mike Conway, and one triumph by Josef Newgarden.

Fuzzy’s also was on Carpenter’s car when he qualified first for the Indianapolis 500 three times (2013, 2014 and 2018). Carpenter also finished a career-best second in this year’s 500.

“I am very appreciative and proud of the relationship between ECR and Fuzzy’s, really going back to before the team began,” Carpenter said in a statement. “It has been a good run and I wish them nothing but the best with their future endeavors.

“Tony George, Stuart Reed and I started ECR together back in 2012 and we are still committed now as we were then to winning Indy 500s and competing for IndyCar Series championships.

“Our plans for 2019 and beyond remain unchanged and I cannot wait to see what we accomplish together moving forward.”

In addition to Carpenter – the only owner/driver in the IndyCar Series – and Pigot returning for 2019, Jones has replaced Jordan King, who was not retained.

Jones will drive under a new partnership between ECR and Scuderia Corsa for the 12 road and street courses on the 2019 IndyCar schedule, as well as in the Indy 500.

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Christopher Bell wins third straight Chili Bowl

@cbnationals, Twitter
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Christopher Bell passed Kyle Larson on the final lap of the 55-lap A-Feature to win the 33rd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Bell is only the second driver in event history to win three consecutive Golden Drillers, joining Kevin Swindell who holds the record with four.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to win the Chili Bowl,” Bell said at ChiliBowl.com. “To do it three straight times is just unbelievable, but man, I don’t even care about three straight. What about that race? I don’t think I’ve ever really been a part of a last lap race like that, so I’m just glad that thing came out in the end.”

As the white flag waved on his eighth appearance in Saturday’s main event, it seemed Larson was finally going to walk away with his first Golden Driller. This was closest he’s been to the win.

Larson took the lead from Logan Seavey on Lap 21 after a five-lap hot pursuit. Bell moved into second for the first time on Lap 27 but a caution forced him back to third as the field realigned to the last completed lap.

On Lap 33, Bell passed Seavey again for second before another caution reset the field. On the next restart Bell road the rim diving to the hub in Turns 3 and 4. With Larson in sight, Bell started to think about where he was going to put his third trophy.

The final caution flag of the night waved with 20 to go to set up the Bell vs. Larson shootout fans had been waiting for since Larson retired early from the race last year. Larson pulled away on the highline in Turns 1 and 2. He switched to the low in 3 and 4.

With five laps to go Larson hit traffic. That gave Bell the opportunity to close the gap. With two to go Bell was on top of Larson and challenging for the lead. On the final lap Bell passed Larson in Turn 2 as they bumped tires. Glued together through the final pair of turns, they touched twice more before Bell pulled away on the final stretch.

The action wasn’t over, however. Bell wound up on his lid following the win. His donuts got a little out of control and he rolled his midget.

Justin Grant took third by passing Brady Bacon on Lap 36. Bacon followed for fourth with Zach Daum in tow to complete the top five.

Tyler Courtney was the hard charger of the night finishing sixth after starting in 22nd. Brad Sweet and CJ Leary finished seventh and eighth.

Seavey was able to hold onto third until late in the race but ultimately the pole sitter who led the first 20 laps faded to ninth.

Tanner Thorson rounded out the top ten.

Friday’s Main Event

1. Christopher Bell
2. Kyle Larson
3. Justin Grant
4. Brady Bacon
5. Zach Daum
6. Tyler Courtney
7. Brad Sweet
8. CJ Leary
9. Logan Seavey
10. Tanner Thorson
11. Danny Stratton
12. Jonathan Beason
13. Tucker Klaasmeyer
14. Colby Copeland
15. Rico Abreu
16. Michael Faccinto
17. Chad Boat
18. David Gravel
19. Cole Bodine
20. Robert Dalby
21. Jake Neuman
22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23. Shane Golobic
24. Sean McClelland