Derrick Walker joins Ed Carpenter Racing
Among Derrick Walker's roles at Ed Carpenter Racing will be allowing the team co-owner/driver to concentrate his efforts on the racetrack.
“Personally, he won’t be able to do it any other way,” said Walker, who will be the team manager of the IZOD IndyCar Series start-up team for the 2012 season. “The series is very competitive and you just can’t cover both bases effectively. Hopefully (team co-owner Tony George and I are) there to carry that load and help set it up.”
Carpenter, whose one-car team is backed Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka, isn’t disillusioned about the commitment on and off the track. He was the driver when George (his stepfather) started Vision Racing in 2005 and has consulted Sarah Fisher regarding the dual role. Carpenter, 30, plans to compete in all events in 2012.
“I didn’t have actual ownership in Vision Racing, but the sweat equity and the time I put into it I felt the pressure of being an owner without really having anything at stake so I think that experience will serve me well going into this new venture,” said Carpenter, who has 113 IZOD IndyCar Series starts since 2003.
“When we had Vision Racing, if that would have all panned out perfectly – which usually things don’t – I probably would have taken ownership at some point.”
Carpenter competed in 10 races for Indianapolis-based Sarah Fisher Racing this season, earning his first victory in October at Kentucky Speedway. He said he was focused on helping Fisher and her husband, Andy O’Gara, grow the base for 2012 and beyond before the relationship with Fuzzy Zoeller and Fuzzy’s Spirits CEO Eric Timmerman went to another level.
“The formation Ed Carpenter Racing wouldn’t be possible without their support,” he said. “It’s great that they see a lot of value in the IndyCar Series and growing their brand and increasing their penetration into different markets. It’s always fun when you get a partner onboard that activates the way they activate and loves our sport.
“We came off of a great year with Sarah Fisher Racing, and I don’t think this opportunity would be here without the year I had with them and the opportunity they gave me last year so I’ll always be grateful. As we neared the end of the season, this opportunity came up very quickly and I think partially that’s how we’ve been able to kind of catch people off-guard.
“Ownership wasn’t something I was thinking about; the stars just sort of aligned and when this opportunity presented itself it just felt like the right time.”
The team will be based at the Walker Racing facility, which also houses an American LeMans Series team, in Indianapolis. Two new Dallara chassis have been ordered, a crew is being assembled and an engine manufacturer will be announced soon.
“We feel very strong about Derrick’s capabilities and what he can bring to the team and his experience,” Carpenter said. “I’m sure there will be challenges, and I’ll probably be doing more work than I’ve done outside of the car but it’s exciting. I’ll definitely set me alarm clock earlier.
“We’ve placed our order for two chassis and I started writing checks from day one.” IndyCar