Carpenter, Fisher Hartman Teams Announce IndyCar Merger

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 17 2014

Ed Carpenter will be partnering with Sarah Fisher next year. (File photo courtesy of the IZOD IndyCar Series)

Team-owners Ed Carpenter and Sarah Fisher will merge their current single-car organizations into the Verizon IndyCar Series’ newest multi-car entry _CFH Racing _ beginning in 2015.

The merger between Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, both based in Indianapolis, officially will take place during the offseason. CFH Racing will be headquartered at the current Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing shop at 1255 Main St. in Speedway, Ind., a few blocks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A key decision looms concerning the merged team’s engine supplier. Carpenter, the series’ lone owner/driver, fields a Chevrolet-powered Dallara chassis for himself and road-racing specialist Mike Conway. Fisher, a former series regular, fields a Honda-powered Dallara for driver Josef Newgarden.

Newgarden (168.233 mph) will start Sunday afternoon’s ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest at The Milwaukee Mile fifth; Carpenter (167.775 mph) will start seventh.

Details on the future of CFH Racing _ including personnel, suppliers and sponsors _ will be announced in the near future.

Established in 2012, Ed Carpenter Racing has emerged as the most successful single-car team in the IndyCar Series since 2004. ECR has scored three victories in 2014 with Conway capturing the Long Beach and Toronto street races and Carpenter winning on the Texas Motor Speedway oval in Fort Worth in the No. 20 ECR/Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka entry.

Carpenter scored ECR’s first series victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., in 2012. Carpenter went on to capture the prestigious Indianapolis 500 pole position in 2013 and 2014. The Butler University marketing graduate has been handling a variety of team responsibilities this season _ including seeking sponsorship to field a second fulltime car and driver. That goal has been met with the merger announcement.

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, formed in 2008 and now co-owned by Sarah Fisher and Willis E. “Wink” Hartman, won its first race in 2011 at Kentucky Speedway with Carpenter behind the wheel. SFHR’s Newgarden recorded a season-best second-place finish at Iowa Speedway in July in the No. 67 SFHR Hartman Oil entry.

Newgarden finished a team-best 14th in IndyCar Series points based on four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 2013.

“I’m very excited about this new opportunity to merge Ed Carpenter Racing with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing into CFH Racing,” Carpenter said in a statement. “We had success together in 2011 and have always had a great relationship. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that we won our first race together at Kentucky Speedway.

“I look forward to getting started with this new team and continuing to add to the success that each of our teams have had in the past. There will be a lot of work to do this offseason to bring the two teams together to form one new team, but we feel that it’s a great opportunity for all of us to grow and reach new heights of success. There are a lot of details we will need to finalize after the season comes to a close, so for now we’re focusing on finishing this season on a high note for Ed Carpenter Racing.”

Fisher was the first woman to win a pole and place second in the IndyCar Series. Fisher also became the first female team-owner in the series in 2008, when the part-time organization made its debut at the Indianapolis 500. Fisher announced her retirement from driving in 2010 after competing in nine Indy 500s. Fisher’s team competed in three events in 2008, six races in 2009 and 15 in 2010. The 2011 season featured a top-10 qualifying effort at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Carpenter’s victory at Kentucky Speedway.

In 2000, Fisher became the third and youngest woman to compete in the Indy 500. She went on to become the first woman to earn an IndyCar Series pole and remains the fastest woman to qualify for the Indy 500 with a four-lap/10-mile average speed of 229.439 mph. Fisher also holds the record for most starts by a woman in the Indy 500 with nine.

“The merger of the two teams is a big-picture plan,” said Fisher, who was voted IndyCar’s Most Popular Driver four times. “At the nucleus of all parties, there’s a lot of synergy that has great potential for the future. Working with Ed, and capturing that first win, was a foothold in our team and I look forward to the many more that will come as a result of bringing all the parties together.”

Hartman, a highly successful businessman in Wichita, Kan., and owner of Hartman Oil, joined Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing as co-owner in December 2011. Hartman Oil operates more than 600 wells in Kansas and Oklahoma. Hartman was named “Businessman of the Year” in 2008 by the Wichita Business Journal.

“I’m excited about the opportunity for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing to join with Ed Carpenter Racing to create a top-tier Verizon IndyCar Series team,” Hartman said. “The newly formed collaboration as CFH Racing will allow us to double-down on our commitment to be successful on and off the track.”

Ed Carpenter Racing, currently based at 4035 Championship Drive in Indianapolis, and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing will finish the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series with Sunday afternoon’s event at The Milwaukee Mile, the Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway road-course on Aug. 24 and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana , Calif., on Aug. 30.

Reigning Indy 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will return to Andretti Autosport in 2015 “and beyond” as driver of the DHL-sponsored entry.

With Sunday’s Milwaukee IndyFest as a backdrop, team-owner Michael Andretti and DHL publically signed a partnership extension that will see the global market leader in the logistics industry remain the primary sponsor on the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda as part of a multi-year agreement. Elements of sponsorship continue in 2015 with DHL image and advertising rights as well as VIP hospitality platforms for DHL customers at races in major U.S. and international markets.

“I’m thrilled to announce that the relationship between myself, DHL and Andretti Autosport will continue,” Hunter-Reay said in a statement. “Every driver strives to find the stability in their career that allows them to continually grow each year; having a home at Andretti Autosport for the last five seasons, working with the same crew and supportive sponsors, has no doubt been a key part of our successes. I look forward to all that is yet to come.”

Hunter-Reay currently sits third in the IndyCar Series championship standings, 63 points behind Will Power of Team Penske. The 2012 IndyCar Series champion, Hunter-Reay has 14 wins and 81 top-10 finishes in 166 starts.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 17 2014
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