Carpenter Set For IRL Debut

PDM Racing will rejoin the IRL series at the Delphi Indy 300 with a Chevy-powered entry driven by rookie Ed Carpenter. PDM's Metabolife Dallara will be equipped with the new Gen IV Chevy Indy V8, bringing the roster of Chevrolet-powered racers to seven. PDM last competed in the IRL series at the Indianapolis 500, where driver Jimmy Kite finished 13th.

Carpenter will make history at this weekend when he competes in the Infiniti Pro Series Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 6 and makes his IRL IndyCar Series debut in the Delphi Indy 300 on Sept. 7.

No driver has competed in both Indy Racing League series' on the same race weekend.

Carpenter completed his rookie test at Kentucky Speedway with a Gen III Chevy Indy V8, and participated in a successful test last week at Chicagoland Speedway with the new Gen IV version.

"The first test in Kentucky was to get me comfortable in the car, and the second test was to get serious for the race," said Carpenter, who will drive in both the Pro Series and IndyCar Series races at Chicagoland. "We did 95 laps last week and the new Chevy engine ran strong to the end of the test. There is a huge difference in speed between the Pro Series and IndyCar Series cars, and with that speed there is a much greater sensation of the g forces the car is pulling. The mechanics of driving the two cars are similar, so it's just a matter of getting accustomed to the higher speeds."

Carpenter plans to run three races with PDM in 2003, thereby preserving his rookie status for the 2004 season. He will be the 13th driver for Paul Diatlovich's IRL team since 1996. One of the PDM Racing's alumni is two-time IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr., who made his IRL debut with PDM Racing in 2000. In eight starts, Hornish had a best finish of third in Las Vegas and led 38 laps in Kentucky. That performance caught the attention of the owners of Pennzoil Panther Racing, who signed Hornish to drive for them in 2001.

"If I can become as successful as Sam, I'll be very happy," said Carpenter. "PDM is a great little team, and I'm sure that Sam learned a lot from them. I'm confident in what we're capable of doing, and I'm looking forward to getting the job done."

Metabolife, based in San Diego, California, has signed on as the primary sponsor for the No. 18 PDM Dallara for the Delphi Indy 300 in Joliet, Illinois.

"Our team, along with our driver Ed Carpenter, are extremely proud to represent Metabolife ," said team owner Paul Diatlovich. "Metabolife has done so many remarkable things for so many people, and we hope to build upon their existing success."

The Delphi Indy 300 will be broadcast live at 2 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 7 on ABC-TV and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. The Chicagoland 100 will be broadcast at 4 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 11 on ESPN2.

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