The Chevrolet Performance booth was abuzz on Thursday morning as a very special guest was welcomed: 2013 Indy 500 pole-sitter, Owner and Driver of the No.20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet V6, Ed Carpenter.
Ed was gracious enough to take photos, sign autographs and visit with Team Chevy fans in the Chevrolet Performance display during the afternoon. But before that, Dr. Jamie Meyer welcomed Ed to the display and chatted with him a bit about his recent IndyCar career.
In 2012 Chevrolet got back into IndyCar racing and you were a huge part of that. Can you talk about the end of the 2012 season and how well you performed?
2012 in general was a great year, not only because Chevrolet came back into IndyCar, but because it was my first year as a driver and owner. It was challenging, but we finished out 2012 with a strong run. We were able to edge out Dario Franchitti for a win, so that was definitely a highlight of 2012 and gave our team a great momentum to go into competition in 2013.
And how about this season, what was the 2013 Indy 500 like for you?
Well on race day we didn’t do as well as we’d hoped, we came in 10th, but it was really nice to see fellow Team Chevy driver Tony Kanaan get the win. We were able to win the pole position though, and winning pole position at Indianapolis is almost bigger than other races on the circuit. So winning the pole in my hometown at one of the most important races for my team and I was really nice.
What was your qualifying speed for that pole position?
The average was about 228mph, I forgot the last two decimals. The first lap was over 229 and the second was just under 229. Running those speeds in Indianapolis, with the amount of drag and down force on the car to get those speeds, its really nerve racking. But it’s a complete team effort between Chevrolet and our team engineers, and as a result I was able to go out and have four really consistent laps.
Wait, I want to make sure people understand how fast you go. What’s the fastest you’ve gone in an IndyCar?
Like I said, that’s a 4 lap average. I believe our fastest single lap, our top speed was about 236 or 237mph.
Wow. And then at the 2013 Fontana race, the finale, you did very well. Tell us about that race.
Having won the previous year’s race at Fontana our team was ready to go, have a strong performance and defend our race title. I really just have a comfort level with the track. There are four distinct grooves you can run in and there are seams separating those grooves, they can really play tricks on the car. So I’ve had to adapt to that challenge a bit. Will Power was able to beat me out, but we finished second and Tony Kanaan was also on the podium, so it was a great race for Team Chevy as we tried to clinch the manufacturer’s title.
Congratulations, that was a huge win for Chevrolet. You helped us solidify two manufacturer’s championships with that. Can you tell us what Ed Carpenter Racing has in store for 2014?
It’s going to be a bit different for us. The last two years I’ve been our only driver as well as the owner. This season I’ll only be driving the ovals and Mike Conway to come in and drive the streets. We feel really good about what it’s going to do to our team. With our combined efforts I feel like we’ll be in a position to win each and every week and to do more to help solidify more manufacturer’s titles for Chevrolet.
Well Ed, thanks so much for spending some time with us and thank you for all you do for Chevrolet. Congratulations on a great run in 2013, we’re looking forward to what Ed Carpenter Racing has in store for 2014!
Stay tuned to The BLOCK for more IndyCar and PRI 2013 news!