IRL: Future Indy Racing Star Could Come From George's Household

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Sunday, June 18, 2000 -- Tony George started the Indy Racing League in 1996 to open an avenue for midget and sprint-car drivers to the Indianapolis 500. Little did he realize that a candidate for the future might...

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Sunday, June 18, 2000 -- Tony George started the Indy Racing League in 1996 to open an avenue for midget and sprint-car drivers to the Indianapolis 500. Little did he realize that a candidate for the future might come from his household. George’s stepson, Eddie Carpenter, charged to third place Sunday in the 25-lap USAC MCI WorldCom Midget Car Series race at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The race, won by Ryan Newman, was the lead-in race to the Radisson Indy 200 Northern Light Series event held later in the day. “It is nice to come up through the ranks and nice to know midget and sprint-car drivers like myself have a place to reach for,” Carpenter said. “It’s a lot closer than it used to be.” “Yeah, my goal definitely is to run in the Indy Racing League.” Carpenter, a sophomore at Butler University in Indianapolis, started eighth in Sunday’s race. He moved forward during the early laps, climbed into third on Lap 12, challenged Michael Lewis briefly for second and then held off Aaron Fike for third at the finish on the 1-mile oval. Last year, he scored his first victory at a shorter track in Louisville, Ky. Carpenter drives the TG Motorsports/Menards-Conseco-Clabber Girl-Erikson-Delphi-Purina Pink/Beast midget. It is owned by his mother, Laura George. “She’s a pretty tough team owner,” he said. “She stays on top of it. When we get out of line, she straightens us back up. She’s a great owner, a great mother.” Carpenter said he really enjoys occasional races with his stepfather as they did in the Chili Bowl earlier this year at Tulsa, Okla. “It’s the most fun,” he said. “He owns a midget, too. We’ll go racing against each other. We encourage each other, and also we’re very competitive with one another because that’s for bragging rights in the house. He’s been very encouraging to me.” Carpenter, 19, has moved back home for the summer but will return to Butler in the fall where he is studying business marketing. “I’ve loved racing ever since I started driving quarter-midgets when I was 8,” he said. Both Carpenter and George’s son, Tony, were in the early stages of their racing careers when the Indy Racing League was formed. But the senior George did not truly anticipate that he would have a potential Indy Racing driver at his dinner table. “Both boys have a tremendous interest in racing,” George said. “They surprise me every day how much they know not only about IRL, but NASCAR, Formula One. They spend time understanding the business and the sport so they’re going to be involved.” The junior Tony George, 16, no longer drives but instead plays hockey. But the senior George said that his stepson appears to have the talent to continue up the racing ladder. “It’s something he wants to continue to pursue,” George said. “I’ve tried to give him a good opportunity to get started,” George said. “I ’m about to wean him off our support, and hopefully his ability will attract an offer for continuing his career.” Carpenter admits there has been added pressure on him since he is related to the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of the highest-profile positions in auto racing. “Everyone knows who I am,” he said, “and everyone is kind of looking at me. But I’ve become used to it, and it doesn’t really bother me as much as it used to. “It’s nice in a way because it’s good for your sponsors, because people are always talking about you.” George said he was relieved to see his stepson finish Sunday’s race, noting that he is smooth and has had many opportunities to win before that were blunted by mechanical problems or mishaps on the track. “He’s capable of advancing his career,” George said. George added that young Tony, a junior-to-be in high school, is beginning to take an interest in the business running of the Speedway. “I think they will ensure the next generation’s management of the Speedway,” the senior George said.

-IRNLS/IMS-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Newman , Michael Lewis , Aaron Fike , Tony George