Carpenter takes 18th Saturday in the opening race of ‘duals’ at Belle Isle

ECR Team tries a different strategy rarly in case of wet conditions

DETROIT (June 1, 2013) – Ed Carpenter and his ECR/Fuzzy’s Vodka team played the waiting game Saturday in the opening round of the “Chevrolet Duals in Detroit” at the repaved 2.35-mile street circuit on Belle Isle.

With rain storms a possibility late in the 79-lap feature, Carpenter and his crew worked hard for fuel conservation early in the contest and actually moved into the top-ten with 20 laps remaining in the sixth race of the 19-event IZOD IndyCar Series. Carpenter’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet battled the slick racing surface in the middle of the race as conditions proved tricky for many of the 25 drivers in the field.

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

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

After running as high as ninth on lap 52, a late pit stop relegated the Indianapolis team owner/driver to 18th at the checkered flag Saturday in the first of two 70-lap main events set for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. The doubleheader weekend marked the first time the IndyCar Series had two road racing competition on the same weekend.

Substitute driver Mike Conway flew in from England to drive the Dale Coyne machine and won his second career IndyCar race. Conway, who won at Long Beach in 2011, defeated Ryan Hunter-Reay, Justin Wilson, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves Saturday.

Carpenter started 22nd Saturday and fought some understeer conditions in the early stages of the race before the crew was able to assist the car’s handling with some turns of front wing in the first two pit stops. However, Carpenter’s machine improved throughout the contest before the final pit stop on lap 61.

“We got a lot better over the course of the race, said Carpenter, who’ll start 23rd in Sunday’s feature. “We are getting closer with the car so I believe we’ll be better for tomorrow’s (Sunday) race. We were able to be more competitive as the race went on. We thought there might be rain later in the race so we went on a different strategy a bit. This is a tough track. It was a good job by Mike (Conway) but I’m bummed out a Chevrolet didn’t win. Hopefully Chevy can come back and take Sunday’s race. There were a lot of marbles and it made it tough if you got off the line. And you also picked up some stuff on the tires. Tag (Alex Tagliani) even lost it under yellow so you can see how tough it was off line. It made it tough to pass because you had to go off the groove and it was slick. Overall, we ran all day and we learned some stuff for the future.”

One of the highlights of Saturday’s race was the appearance of six Detroit Red Wings hockey players in the ECR/Fuzzy’s pit area. They enjoyed the pit stop action by taking photos and tweeting out their opinions of the competition.

“It was great they could see the racing up close,” said Carpenter. “I’m sad that my brother, Tony Jr., wasn’t here. He played hockey for many years and is a huge Red Wings fan. He would have liked to meet them here.”

Ed Carpenter Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Helio Castroneves , Alex Tagliani , Scott Dixon , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Mike Conway , Dale Coyne , Ed Carpenter
Article type Race report
Tags 200, 2013, belle isle, detroit, duals, ed carpenter, race