In His Own Words: Ed Carpenter
November 13, 2009 | 4:14 P.M. EST
The obvious high for me this season was the race at Kentucky. We have been working for a long time to win a race, and getting that close really reaffirmed to the team that we can win, and that we are doing the right things to get to that point. But we did not win, so we still have some work to do to make it happen.
Another positive achievement for the team was that we completed the third-most laps of all cars. The Ganassi cars of (Scott) Dixon and (Dario) Franchitti were the only cars to complete more. However, with that stat I would have expected to finish higher than 12th in the standings. I was disappointed not to be in the top 10 in points, but I was happy for my team and mechanics to be able to complete that many laps. That stat says a lot about our team's preparation and the quality of team that we have become.
Qualifying in the season finale at Homestead was certainly a bright spot, but it was also a "what could have been" moment because we did not back up our qualifying performance in the race. When we start up front, we must finish up front. It's as simple as that…we must capitalize on those types of things.
The biggest low for me this season came at St. Pete. I made a mistake in season opener that gave us our only DNF of the year. That was not how I wanted to start our season, and I plan on not repeating that next year.
Switching gears, as I look back on the season it's difficult to come up with any one humorous or funny thing that's happened over the year. We have so much fun as a team no matter where we go and I think that's evident on our Facebook page, Twitter feeds and team web site.
We have a great core of guys, many of whom have been with the team since the beginning, so we get along very well…probably a little too well at times. And we've had quite a bit of fun bringing our fans in on it this year, too.
It was also fun to watch our Indy Lights team get some victories with James (Davison) and Daniel (Herrington) and really improve each race weekend. Our Indy Lights operation partnered with Bryan Herta Autosport, which was a real bright spot for the organization this year and I think it raised our overall game. What they were able to do in just one season was impressive.
That said, I feel good about the outlook for 2010. We are establishing a lot of continuity on the team, and are keeping our core group of people together, which will allow us to continue growing and improving as a team.
Next year's schedule starts mostly with street courses, so I am really trying to focus on that as I prepare over the off season, including some of the karting events that I've been competing in.
The reality is I need to maximize my results in those early races next year until we get to an oval where I feel like we can compete for wins.
Obviously, we'll be taking the good with the not-so-good from 2009 and we'll set our sights on 2010. This year we proved to ourselves that we have what it takes to win and to consistently achieve positive results. In 2010, we just have to do it. No pressure.