Ed Carpenter of Indianapolis, Ind. is thrilled with his success so far in USAC's Coors Light Silver Bullet Series. Currently 10th in the series standings, he leads the charge for the 2000 Oliver Trucking "Rookie of the Year" Award, which...
Ed Carpenter of Indianapolis, Ind. is thrilled with his success so far in USAC's Coors Light Silver Bullet Series. Currently 10th in the series standings, he leads the charge for the 2000 Oliver Trucking "Rookie of the Year" Award, which will be presented at the USAC National Awards Dinner in January.
"It's been a real surprise," says Carpenter about his quick success in USAC's premiere series. A ninth-place finish at Phoenix, Ariz. in February and a seventh at Nazareth, Pa. last weekend have earned the 19-year-old youngster two consecutive Oliver Trucking "Rookie of the Race" awards, which includes $1,000 in bonus cash awards.
"There have been no problems," he continues, giving credit to the experience of his team. He drives the #7 Debbie Snider Beast, powered by an Chevy engine with sponsor assistance from Menards, Conseco, Clabber Girl, Ericcson and Delphi. "It's great to rely on the knowledge of Jimmy (Sills) and George (Snider)," he adds. Sills is the only three-time Silver Bullet Champion and Snider won the inaugural Silver Crown title. "The first time I drove the car was at media day at Phoenix and it's surprising how fast the car's come to me. I like these 100-mile races because you have to save the car for the end and at Nazareth it seemed we just got faster as the race wore down."
Carpenter is part of a stellar field of "rookie" candidates who will be trying to earn starting berths in the May 6-7 Coors Light Silver Bullet race at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. Other 2000 Oliver Trucking "Rookie of the Year" eligibles are Ricky Logan of Little Rock, Ark., who won the "Rookie of the Race" award at Orlando, Fla. in January; Brad Armstrong of New Palestine, Ind.; Robin Bank of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Mark Boice of Noblesville, Ind.; Ray Bragg of Tampa, Fla.; Brad Fox of Indianapolis; Bud Kaeding of Campbell, Calif.; Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw, Wash.; Mike Lauterborn of Rochester, N.Y.; Donnie Lehmann of Springfield, Ill.; Bobby McMahan of Rio Linda, Calif.; Gary Mondschein of Stewartsville, N.J.; Troy Vaccaro of Sandusky, Ohio; and Billy Whittaker of Central Square, N.Y.
In 1996 Carpenter captured National quarter-midget championships on both the dirt (Hagerstown, Pa.) and pavement (Xenia, Ohio) and he ran TQ Midgets for about a year before his first USAC Midget Car start in 1998 at the 16th Street Speedway in Indianapolis. In 1999 he won the USAC MCI WorldCom National Midget Car feature at Louisville (Ky.) Motor Speedway and added two other "top-10" finishes. He will campaign for both the Coors Light and MCI WorldCom titles this season, driving the #3 Ed Pink Beast Midget Car in the MCI WorldCom series.
"At the start of the season I was just hoping to make some races and get some seat time," he confesses. "But now I think we might be able to win a race. We've already proven we can be competitive." He is looking forward to the Gateway race. "I've only seen the track on TV but I think we have a good chance to run up front. We've been fast both races so far."
Carpenter sees a fight for the Oliver Trucking "Rookie of the Year" award but thinks Kasey Kahne might be the driver to beat. "He's been spectacular so far," he says. "I see him getting better as the season progresses." Obviously, so too should Ed.