Carpenter Rejoins Panther Racing
August 9, 2010 | 3:46 P.M. EST
He'll drive the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka entry at Chicagoland Speedway on Aug. 28, Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 4 and Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 2.
"We're really very excited about the opportunity to compete in more IndyCar races this season thanks to the support of Fuzzy Zoeller and his Ultra Premium Vodka along with John Barnes and the Panther Racing team," Vision Racing co-owner Tony George said. "We're looking forward to building on the experience of both teams and our partnership at the Indianapolis 500 this year to secure strong results."
Carpenter started an Indianapolis 500-best eighth, ran as high as fourth and finished 17th in the May 30 event, which was his 100th IZOD IndyCar Series race.
"The Indianapolis 500 experience with Ed Carpenter, Vision and Panther Racing was really enjoyable and we saw it as a success for Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka," said Indiana native and professional golfer Fuzzy Zoeller. "We really wanted to continue our relationship and partnership with Tony, Ed and the teams and I'm looking forward to supporting Ed's run at these tracks. I believe we will accomplish some great things together moving forward."
Carpenter fared well in 2009 in a Vision Racing car at the three 1.5-mile ovals. At Chicagoland Speedway, he advanced six positions to finish sixth in a race in which the top 13 cars were separated by 0.8269 seconds. At Kentucky Speedway, he led 34 laps and fell short of his first victory by 0.0162 of a second in the series' closest finish at the track. At Homestead-Miami Speedway, he started a career-high fourth and finished 12th.
"I cannot wait to get back on the racetrack in the No.20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium vodka car," said Carpenter, who on Aug. 9 was participating in a media tour to promote the Kentucky Speedway race. "We had such a great month of May that I am excited to finish what we started. All three races that we are doing we should be very competitive, and I am hoping to deliver for Fuzzy, Vision and Panther. It has been a long season watching IndyCar action from the sidelines, so I am eager to get back into the action."
Carpenter, 29, made his IZOD IndyCar Series debut in 2003 and has been Vision Racing's full-time driver since the team's inception in 2005.
The No. 20 team will feature the same core of personnel responsible for Carpenter's Indianapolis effort, with Al Bodey returning as race engineer and Brian Franzosi continuing chief mechanic duties. Longtime Vision Racing team manager Keven Kaye will oversee operations of the Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka entry. Carpenter's teammate will be an asset as well, as Dan Wheldon earned a series-record three consecutive victories at Homestead (2005-07) and was victorious at Chicagoland in 2005 and 2006.
"We knew from the beginning that we wanted to run Ed for more than just the Indianapolis 500," Panther managing partner and CEO John Barnes said. "I've got to thank Fuzzy's Vodka and Tony George for making this happen; they've put in a lot of hard work since we finished at Indianapolis to make this deal happen and we know that Ed is going to be able to step right back in the No. 20 car and be a major factor in all three of these events.
"He worked very well with Wheldon during Indianapolis and I'm sure their relationship will continue to help our team get back into Victory Lane."