For the past four years, Ed Carpenter has raced only the oval tracks on the IndyCar schedule. That typically adds up to five or six races a year the driver and team owner of Ed Carpenter Racing gets to compete in. When his name pops up on an entry list, fans and the media love to mention that Carpenter only races on ovals, and they often dub him an ‘oval specialist’ or ‘oval expert.’
Ed Carpenter was supposed to be the ‘oval-expert’ for CFH Racing, leaving the road and street course races for Luca Filippi. Things didn’t work out as planned in 2015 for the newly formed team.
Ed Carpenter competed in six races last season but failed to claim even one top-five finish. In the Indianapolis 500, the race in which he started on pole in 2013, Carpenter crashed out and finished 30th. An engine failure brought two more races to an end at Fort Worth and Pocono, though those weren’t shaping up to be much better — he qualified 15th and 21st, respectively. Fontana was perhaps his most promising race until he crashed out on lap 157 after leading one lap.
The two races he did complete, Milwaukee and Iowa, yielded a tenth and sixth place finish. But in neither of those races was there really a threat to the front runners from Carpenter. He didn’t lead any laps and his teammate, Josef Newgarden, beat him in both of those races anyway. In fact, Newgarden beat him in every race last season and in half of the races in 2014. Carpenter’s younger teammate is emerging as the team’s number one driver on all types of tracks.
Carpenter raced in a little over a third of the races full-time drivers did, yet only secured 88 points in the championship. Over a 16 race season, he would have earned around 250 points — good for 18th place (which is also near his average finish for 2015, 17.8).
Next year’s schedule has the series returning to Phoenix International Raceway, a track where Carpenter has raced twice. His two finishes there of 19th and 16th won’t be encouraging signs for the struggling American.
Oval expert Ed Carpenter was part team owner and part driver during the 2014 IndyCar season, managing a respectable 22nd place in the championship while only running six races.
We’ll be doing a statistical breakdown of all of the drivers who ran in the 2014 IndyCar season, starting from the back of the points standings and ending with the championship winner, Will Power. To view all of the driver breakdowns, click here.
Ed Carpenter only ran the oval tracks in 2014, so he only had six chances to rack up some points for Ed Carpenter racing. Thankfully for him, his year turned out to be a fairly successful one after a heartbreak in Indianapolis, crashing out of the race with 25 laps left and starting on pole. The next race in Fort Worth saw Carpenter bring home is first and only win of the 2014 season. After that, a string of top ten finishes concluded the season bar a 13th place finish at Pocono.
Combined with his teammate Mike Conway, the Ed Carpenter Racing duo would have finished eighth in the championships standings. Ed Carpenter’s best championship finish alone was 12th in 2009, so the addition of road-course expert Conway is paying big time for the team.
The merger between Ed Carpenter and Sarah Fisher Hartman racing was announced in September, 2014. The 2015 driver lineup is currently Carpenter and Joseph Newgarden, Mike Conway is yet to be confirmed for next year.
Image © Don Figler