Beginning on May 29, the Royal Purple logo will adorn the engine cover of the Ed Carpenter Racing No. 20 Chevrolet, driven by famed IndyCar racer Ed Carpenter. Throughout his racing career Carpenter has made headlines, including as the first driver to compete in both an Indy Lights and IndyCar event in a single weekend, and for capturing consecutive pole positions at the Indy 500 in 2013 and 2014.
In celebration of its partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing, Royal Purple is launching the 2016 Royal Purple Indy 500 Sweepstakes, offering race fans the opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind Royal Purple racing helmet signed by Ed Carpenter. From May 5 – June 1, fans can enter the sweepstakes by completing the online entry form at RoyalPurple.com. Following the close of the sweepstakes’ entry period, one winner will be chosen at random to receive the grand prize.
NUVO spoke with owner/driver Carpenter after 2016 quals were in the books.
NUVO: The area surrounding turn 2 seemed to be a trouble spot on the track this week, Spencer Pigot spun out just before it(coming out of turn 1), and Mikhail Aleshin came dangerously close to hitting the wall outside turn 2 on several occasions. On top of that Pippa Mann experienced her rear wing flap failure in the turn as well. What was it about turn 2 that seemed to be causing problems as the week went on?
Ed Carpenter: Pippa Mann’s accident was a failure, so that would have caused an accident anywhere. Pigot crashed coming out of turn 1. Max Chilton crashed in turn 2, I don’t know what happened there. Turn 2 is a tricky corner. A lot of it depends on the wind around here, and the way the wind was blowing yesterday (Pole Day) made it really tricky. Turn 2 is a little more open than turns 1-3, they are protected more by the grandstands. In turn 2 there is not as many grandstands. I think it’s a little more open to the wind, so I think when it’s windy the car can be a little more affected over there. A lot of times it was coincidence more than anything. Any accident here there is a lot of circumstances that go into it. With the way the wind was, I think that makes it more of a difficult corner.
NUVO: Domed skids is a topic that comes up a lot lately, and it did during James Hinchcliffe’s press conference following his P1 win. What is your view on them? How does the car handle different with them?
Ed Carpenter: I mean, I think they (INDYCAR) made the right decision in going to them. I think with the accidents we’ve seen this month with both Honda and Chevy, the cars have reacted much better this year than what we saw last year. The dome skids are helping it have more downforce when it’s at a 90 degree angle. It’s slowing us down more when we’re sliding. The purpose of it is to make it safer for the cars and the drivers. I think it’s been successful in that, and I think it’s the most important thing. You know, I don’t think it’s changed things all that much. It forces us all to run the car with a little higher ride height, which is a little less downforce, but it’s the same for everybody. We saw race running is still super competitive, and we’re still gonna see a lot of passing so I’m glad they stuck with it.
NUVO: As an owner/driver how do you tow the line between being a competitor and helping put the rest of the team in a good position on race day?
Ed Carpenter: I think for me, any time you have teammates whether you’re an owner or not you gotta be a good teammate to make the whole team stronger. The whole part of running more cars is it makes you better. If you don’t genuinely share information, you’re gonna make each other worse. As an owner, I don’t think it’s easier or harder. If you do a good job, it’s gonna make the team better.
NUVO: What words of advice did you give Josef (Newgarden) before he took his fast nine run?
Ed Carpenter: I was just trying to keep him relaxed. He had a fast car all week so I was just trying to encouraging him to stay focus and be calm. To do the same thing he’s been doing all week, trust the team, trust the car and trust himself. Don’t do anything different just because you’re in the fast nine.
NUVO: As somebody who has basically been in that position as a former pole winner, what did you tell him (Josef) as he was waiting for the day to end?
Ed Carpenter: Once you’ve done your run, you’ve done all you can do. Everything happens after that is out of your control. I just tell him to have fun and enjoy it. It’s a fun process, its fun being a part of winning a pole and trying to win a pole. We just missed out yesterday. The initial emotion is disappointment but at the end of the day, he’s in a great position. He’s on the front row for the Indy 500 and he should be proud of that.
NUVO: Sunday’s race marks the first race with ECR’s partnership with Royal Purple. Are there talks going on to continue the partnership past 2016?
Ed Carpenter: Right now, we just have a deal for the 500. They’ll be involved with in a lesser role for the rest of the season. We’re hopeful it’s a relationship that will continue in the future. They’re neighbors, their corporate office is just down the road from the race shop. We’ve had a lot of fun working together this month. It’s great to be partnered with another Indiana company. Hopefully we give them a good race and they want to continue with us next year.