ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY'S PREMIUM ULTRA VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Barber Motorsports Park and discussed additions to his team, testing so far this season and other topics. Full transcript:
ANYTHING NEW FOR THIS YEAR?
“No, everything is pretty much the same. We added one new assistant engineer that we didn’t have last year but other than that, everything should go pretty much the same as last year. The car hasn’t changed; the people haven’t changed, so we are just trying to carry on from where we left off. It was nice to have a real offseason because last season we didn’t really get to do much preparation specifically for different races and we were just getting ready to go, so as a group, I think we feel much more prepared coming into this year. Hopefully we will be able to get up to speed a little quicker."
SOME TEAMS ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE LACK OF TESTING BUT SOUNDS LIKE YOU GUYS ARE FEELING GOOD BECAUSE YOU ARE TESTING MORE THAN YOU DID LAST YEAR?
“Yes, I have been in the car twice since Fontana but as far as the other development that we have been able to do and that we did none of last year, I feel like I expect to see some gains everywhere we go."
I THINK I READ THAT MATT BARNES IS YOUR ENGINEER AND HE TOOK OVER AROUND INDY OF LAST YEAR? OBVIOUSLY YOU GUYS STARTED TO JELL AT THE END OF LAST YEAR?
“Yes, he started out last year as my assistant and we started to make some moves for various reasons in May and we worked well together the whole time but it takes a little while to get the chemistry going and understand each other and know what the other is thinking so as the year went on, I felt like race-by-race we got better and better with one another. It’s nice to not have much change for this year."
OBVIOUSLY YOUR OVAL PROGRAM IS RIGHT WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE WITH EVERYBODY ELSE. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE CREEPING UP ON IT ON THE ROAD AND STREET CIRCUITS?
“I felt good about where we were headed at the end of last year and we had a good test a couple weeks ago at Sonoma. But I hate to say we are putting more of a priority there because there is still a lot that we want to accomplish on the ovals and you don’t want to ignore your strength either because that is where our greatest opportunities are going to be anyway. But I do feel like we are going to keep closing the gap and I feel confident coming in and I feel excited for the test here and like I said, we had a good test at Sonoma so I am ready to keep making progress."
AS A TEAM OWNER WHO HAS TO DECIDE WHERE TO SPEND YOUR RESOURCES, WHAT PERCENTAGE WOULD YOU SAY YOU SPEND ON OVALS VS. ROAD/STREET COURSES?
“Without doing track testing it’s easy to balance it off-track but we probably have weighted it a little more towards the oval side. Indianapolis is obviously the main goal for us and probably most every other team as well. It’s the most important race of the season and you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to be the most prepared for that race so I think for that reason alone we spend a little more energy there but at the same time, we haven’t ignored anything."
DO YOU STILL HAVE A LONG TERM OBJECTIVE TO GO TO A TWO CAR TEAM?
“Yeah, the plan is always to grow, but that is easier said than done. If we could do it, we would have done it by now, but when the opportunity is there we will certainly take advantage of it. It’s going to have to be the right situation at the right time, just like it was when we started the team to begin with. Hopefully it comes sooner rather than later."
GROWING FAMILY, BUILDING A HOUSE, GROWING A RACE TEAM, HOW DO YOU BALANCE ALL THAT AS A DRIVER?
“Well, Heather (his wife) is phenomenal and really helps with everything away from it. And the time I spent in college managing a full time race schedule and a full load of classes helped me learn how to manage my time well. I don’t really think it’s that difficult but obviously a third child makes things hectic at home but it is what it is. As far as the race shop is concerned, Derrick (Walker) and Tim (Broyles) do a great job and I don’t feel the need to be there every minute of every day and I am not a micro-manager by nature so I just try to stay organized and prioritized. I got faster with the first two kids, and I feel like I keep getting better so if that trend continues who knows how many we will have."
WHAT DO YOU FEEL A SUCCESSFUL 2013 IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE?
“Obviously we want to keep winning races but improvement and improvement all around. I feel like we left a lot on the table last year even with getting one race win. I feel like there were two more where not much would have had to been done different to have a couple more wins so like I said earlier, I expect that we are going to be better and faster just about everywhere we go. So hopefully more wins."