On Friday afternoon, I had the chance to interview Ed Carpenter, owner and part time driver of the number 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing car. Carpenter, who is only driving on the oval circuits this season, has a win at Texas Motor Speedway as well as a top five finish in Iowa. Mike Conway, who drives road and street courses for Carpenter, has earned Carpenter’s team a win at Long Beach. Conway, who is driving the number 20 car this weekend, placed 12th in Friday morning practice.
Isabelle Beecy – From a team owner’s perspective, how do you think the season has been going for Ed Carpenter Racing?
Ed Carpenter – Pretty good. We have two race wins, so I know there’s a lot of teams that would be happy with those results or want those results. At the same time, as a team owner, you’re always looking at areas for improvement, missed opportunities, and things like that, too. I’m probably more critical of our team than other people but when I step away and take some of my emotions out of it, it’s been a really good year.
IB – This year you’ve had Mike Conway driving the road and street circuits with you driving the ovals. How do you feel like that’s been working so far this season?
EC – It’s going good. I think it’s still kind of a new dynamic for everyone just because it’s different. It’s different when I’m driving, it’s different when Mike’s driving. Not necessarily that it’s good or bad either way, but just the way the team interacts and things like that. Its a different dynamic. I still think we’re figuring it out, how to optimize that, especially going back and forth to keep chemistry and confidence levels where they need to be but all in all its been really good.
IB – Would there be any chance in the future that Ed Carpenter Racing could expand to a two-car team?
EC – We’d love to grow to a second car. It’s been a goal for a while, it just comes down to having the partners in place and having the team funded at the right level to be able to do it. That’s what we’re doing with this Fuzzy’s car. That’s definitely a goal, hopefully sooner than later.
IB – With the rise in road and street circuits, do you think more ovals are needed or do you enjoy the series competing on more road/street circuits?
EC – I’d like to see some more. We haven’t really added. I mean, we added Pocono before last year but that’s it. It’d be nice to go back to some of the places we’ve been to in the past that were good racetracks. Whether it’s Michigan, Phoenix, Kentucky, Chicagoland, I think there’s some good markets and good tracks that we should be going to.
IB – You recently refereed the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. How was that experience?
EC – It was bizarre. It was a lot of fun. It was a unique experience. Definitely an event that I was glad I was able to witness for one time. I don’t know if I’ll go back or not but it was a spectacle, I’ll just say that.