After finishing in second place in yesterday’s 2018 Indianapolis 500, Verizon IndyCar Series driver and team owner Ed Carpenter has stated that whilst he is happy with the result, he wants to “come back stronger” in next year’s race.
In qualifying for the race, held a week before the event, Carpenter further confirmed he and his team’s great pace. After a stunning four-lap average, Ed claimed the third Indy 500 pole position of his career, with this comparatively small team – Ed Carpenter Racing – once again taking the fight to the giants such as Team Penske.
In the race yesterday, Carpenter started off strong. He remained in control for a majority of the first half of the race, only dropping out of the lead when he made pit-stops. His first actual challenge for the lead came just after lap seventy when Tony Kanaan took the top spot away on a restart.
From there, Carpenter seemed to begin to struggle. Whilst he was able to run comfortably when out front, he was not able to easily re-take the lead when he dropped to second. Carpenter briefly re-took the lead when Kanaan suffered a puncture, but he would then fall back down to second place a few laps later after a pit-stop phase saw Will Power jump into first place.
For the remaining half of the race, Carpenter continued to run in close proximity to Power in the lead and, after those on the alternate fuel strategy pitted within the final ten laps, Will would take the win, with Ed still following him to take second place. The result was Ed’s best-ever finish in the Indianapolis 500, a fantastic result compared to his finishes the last two times he had started on pole.
Despite the disappointment of finishing just a few seconds off of the Indy 500 winner, Carpenter stated in post-race interviews that he would most likely feel happy with the result after a few days had passed, before going on to praise the efforts of his team throughout the month of may:
“I’ll feel pretty good about this in a couple days, I think,” Carpenter said, “The team really did a great job all month long, all day long, really. Pit stops were really good. It was almost like being out front early probably hurt us a little bit, just because guys started saving fuel a little earlier. We got behind on the fuel saving.
“Track position was everything we thought it was going to be coming into the day. You heard the drivers talk all week. Just couldn’t quite get it back from [Will Power]. We were saving fuel through the middle part of the race when everyone was essentially trying to cut out a stop. That was a little odd.
“You never know how these races are going to unfold. I thought, for the most part, the team executed well. All in all, I thought if Will [Power] won the race and we ended up second, we’ll be happy with that. We’ll come back stronger next year.”
The next two races of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series take place this weekend. Jordan King and Spencer Pigot will be in action for Ed Carpenter Racing in the two races that make up the Duel in Detroit at the Belle Isle street circuit.