Vision's Ed Carpenter back for 3 races
Vision Racing and IndyCar driver Ed Carpenter are happy to welcome back Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka to run three more IZOD IndyCar Series events in collaboration with Panther Racing during the 2010 season. Carpenter, who ran with Panther Racing as a second team entry in the 2010 Running of the Indianapolis 500, will drive the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka entry at upcoming races at Chicagoland Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. The collaboration between the two IZOD IndyCar Series teams will once again pair Carpenter with full-time Panther driver Dan Wheldon, pilot of the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing entry.
"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," said Vision Racing Team Owner, Tony George. "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."
"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."
"We knew from the beginning that we wanted to run Ed (Carpenter) 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 (Dan) Wheldon during Indianapolis and I'm sure their relationship will continue to help our team get back into victory lane."
"I cannot wait to get back on the racetrack in the no.20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium vodka car," said Carpenter who made his 100th career start at the 2010 Indianapolis 500 with Panther, qualified in the eighth position for the race and ran as high as fourth before taking the checkered flag in 17th. " We had such a great month of May, 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 is a six-year veteran of the IndyCar Series who first debuted in the league in 2003 before becoming Vision Racing's full-time driver at the team's inception in 2005. The 29-year-old Indianapolis resident will being his return to IndyCar competition at Chicagoland Speedway where he finished sixth in 2009 during an exciting race in which the top 13 cars were separated by just 0.8269 seconds at the finish line.
Carpenter also returns to Kentucky Speedway where last season he captured his career best finish, with one of the most memorable battles for the checkered flag of the 2009 season to finish second by a margin of 0.0162 seconds while leading a total of 34 laps in the IndyCar Series' closest finish at Kentucky.
Carpenter will close out the 2010 IndyCar Season with Panther Racing at Homestead Miami Speedway where last year he again equaled his career-best start by taking the green flag in the fourth position. The no.20 Vision Racing entry ran as high as third in the race before the car's handling capabilities and maneuverability deteriorated, crossing the finish for a 12th place finish.
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.
Panther Racing has collected victories at each of the tracks where Carpenter will join the team later this season. The team earned two thrilling victories at Chicagoland with Sam Hornish Jr. (2002-2003), a win from the pole position at Kentucky (2003) and back-to-back victories at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2001-2002). Carpenter's teammate will be a strong asset as well, as Wheldon earned a league-record three straight wins at Homestead (2005-2007) and was victorious at Chicagoland in consecutive years (2005-2006).