Carpenter's team evaluates trailer fire damage

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Team now hard at work to prepare for Houston events

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 26, 2013) – Team owner/driver Ed Carpenter said again today that he and his IZOD IndyCar Series racing team feel fortunate to have escaped major injury and damage after Wednesday’s morning trailer fire in Arizona.

Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Rebecca McKay

Ed Carpenter Racing truck drivers Jeff Hughes and Matt Giese experienced a fire in the rear of the team’s trailer early Wednesday morning some 20 miles west of Flagstaff, Ariz., after Carpenter and the ECR/Fuzzy’s Vodka team had tested at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Tuesday. Cause of the fire is not yet known.

Hughes pulled the team’s truck and trailer to an off ramp on I-40 with the rear section of the trailer in flames. Three Andretti Autosport truck and trailer crews also pulled off the highway to assist Hughes and Giese with the fire. Local fire agencies helped in reducing the flames and fire damage. The ECR truck was not damaged and no one was injured in the incident.

One of the Andretti Autosport truck crews brought the Indy 500 pole-winning race car, the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Dallara DW12 Chevrolet-powered machine, to Indianapolis Thursday morning as well as some spare parts from the damaged trailer. With limited space, the Andretti team was able to load the race car and selected equipment in Arizona.

“We got the stuff that the Andretti Autosport guys brought back for us this morning,” said Carpenter, the defending race winner of the MAVTV 500 in Fontana. “The race car, the tools boxes and some of the things they were able to get out of the back of the trailer came today. We want to thank the Andretti guys for their help throughout this tough situation.”

While the race car looked dusty and smoky from the incident (see photos), it suffered minor exterior damage, but the ECR crew was inspecting the entire car thoroughly Thursday.

“The race car needs a lot of work,” said Carpenter after meeting with his team Thursday. “It was pretty smoke damaged. But we are feeling very fortunate, all things considered, with the way some of the equipment is looking right now. We have some of our chassis uprights, turbos and wheels that did survive. There is a lot of work to do today, not just cleaning up. We have evaluating, testing and checking of parts as well as some electronic aspects too.”

Carpenter said he has three crew members currently in Arizona, examining the damage of any remaining equipment that can be used in the future. He expects Hughes and Giese to return to Indianapolis on Saturday with the team’s truck, a rented trailer and the equipment.

“We have three guys in Arizona who are unloading equipment from the damaged trailer,” he said. “Things like the timing stand, the fuel rig and other items are part of it. They will load up another trailer to get the stuff back here by Saturday. They will give us an idea of what is lost and what we can salvage from the fire. It will be a long weekend but we have a great group of guys here.

“It is a lot of work but I think we have a good plan to forge ahead right now. We’ll be ready for Houston next week.”

Carpenter explained that his squad, led by team manager Tim Broyles, has received a great outpouring of support from many in the IZOD IndyCar Series and he wants to thank them for their assistance.

“One of the best things about times like this is that the IndyCar community is always there to help,” Carpenter said. “We have heard from just about everyone, from the manufacturers in Chevrolet, Firestone and Dallara to teams like KV, Andretti, Sarah Fisher, Penske and others. Many have reached out and are offering help and materials. It’s nice knowing that people are there for you. Our sponsors have been very supportive too.”

The series’ only team owner/driver said his team has been working since Wednesday morning to secure additional equipment in getting the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy to Houston for next Friday’s morning when practice at 10:30 a.m. CDT.

“We are working on a couple of deals to get a trailer and some additional equipment right now,” Carpenter said. “I think everything is coming together for us after a tough 24 hours. We know it will be hard on the team but we will be ready at Houston.”

Tom Blattler

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Series INDYCAR
Article type Breaking news
Tags carpenter, chevrolet, fuzzy's, indycar