Ed Carpenter Hoping to turn Front Row into Victory at Indy

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When getting up on a typical Indianapolis 500 race morning, Ed Carpenter’s first focus is to check on the current weather conditions.

“Peek out the blinds and see if it’s dry,” he said. “In Indianapolis, it doesn’t matter what the forecast is, it could always be wet.”

Unfortunately, the forecast does not look promising, with 66 percent chance of precipitation including thunderstorms. However, Carpenter’s other focus when checking the weather focuses around the wind, with gusts currently expected to be around 10 mph.

“The wind is a huge factor here,” he said. “Basically, all the final adjustments that we’ll make from the time Carb Day practice is over to the start of the race, you know, if you’re making any adjustments other than those that are related to the weather conditions, you’re probably not feeling very confident with your car.

“So that’s why I say weather because we’re making our final decisions based upon that.”

Despite the unknowns, Carpenter is entering the 103rd Indianapolis 500 confident, feeling very happy with the No. 20 Chevrolet after posting the 18th-quickest lap time during the final practice.

“I feel we’ve had a very productive month of information, and I feel pretty comfortable with whatever conditions are on race day,” he said. “I think we’ve been pretty consistent over sunny days, cloudy days, windy days, calm days. The temp’s been up and down through the month. I feel confident with our car and feel like we have everything that we need to go out and put together a winning effort.”

He knows it will not be easy, with the level of talent through the field, ranging from past winners such as Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon.

“That’s the hard part about assessing this field is it’s strong all the way through,” Carpenter commented. “(James) Hinchcliffe’s on the last row. I won’t be surprised to see him in the front at some point. He’s got a good car. That’s what makes this race so challenging in this era is the quality of teams from top to bottom and drivers is just so tight.”

Fortunately, unlike Hinchcliffe, Carpenter will start the race in a good position as he qualified second, joined by his Ed Carpenter Racing teammates in the top-four.

“Really, it’s a team effort,” he said. “Our whole team does a great job building the cars, and beyond building one fast car, they built three fast cars this year. All of us are in second, third, and fourth. It’s a team effort, a lot of hours working on the cars and developing the car build. It’s something we work at all the time, and it’s nice we’re being able to show some consistency.”

Carpenter has also shown speed in the event previously, scoring a runner-up last year to Will Power.

“It’s disappointing for sure to be that close to winning the race and accomplishing a lifelong dream,” he reflected. “But at the end of the day, you finish second, Will Power won, and it was a great victory for him, and just try to take the positives and negatives for the day and move forward with it and try to come back better and more prepared for this year.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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Ashley McCubbin is currently studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber while writing for multiple websites. She also serves on the managing staff for a select few. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.

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