The merger of Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing into CFH Racing creates a two-car team for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, with the possibility of additional entries at selected races.
Josef Newgarden, who in late August signed a contract for his fourth season, will join Carpenter in competing in the oval races. Carpenter said it’s his intent to firm up details of Mike Conway returning to the team to compete in the road/street course events. Carpenter won in June at Texas Motor Speedway and Conway earned victories at Long Beach and Toronto in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car.
Conway is competing in a sports car race this weekend at Circuit of the Americas.
“He's kind of getting through that and letting us get our legs under us with the new team,” Carpenter said. “But it's certainly a priority on the list with the results we had this year and working with Mike, the combination of myself working with Josef on the ovals and Josef and Mike working together on the road courses is one we're excited about. Hopefully, by the end of the month that would be wrapped up.”
Click it: CFH Racing to utilize Chevrolet engines, aero kits
A test Sept. 30 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has been scheduled with Newgarden and Conway in two Chevrolet-powered cars. CFH Racing announced Sept. 17 that it will utilize the Chevy 2.2-liter, twin-turbo-charged, direct-injection V-6 engine and aero kits for 2015. In his three seasons with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Newgarden had driven the No. 67 with a Honda engine.
“I've been in situations where I've been in single car for periods of time and I've had teammates,” said Carpenter, whose victory at Kentucky Speedway in 2011 was the first for Fisher’s team. “Certainly when you have teammates, and especially quality teammates like we have with CFH Racing, it's a big advantage.
“So with the way the series is going with testing rules and with the aero kits being introduced and when they're being introduced and the amount of track time available, it's going to be even more important this year to have a teammate and to be bigger, stronger team with collective resources. It was an easy decision to partner and form this new team. There's been history amongst all of us and relationships from the past that really made things for an easier transition. We're just really excited to get on track and start the process of developing for next year.”
Added Newgarden, the 2011 Indy Lights champion who posted a season-best of second in July at Iowa Speedway: “From my side, being a one-car operation and coming into it as a rookie in 2012, it is a tough task, but it's made me stronger as a driver and I've learned many things from being a one-car team.
“It's exciting now to take that skill set and the things that you did learn as a one-car operation and put it into a solid two-car operation where you're actually using both cars efficiently to move forward each weekend and all year long.
“In order to make the most of a two-car team, you have to be on the same page with your teammates, and I think Ed and me are going to do a good job of that. If Mike stays around as well, I think we're going to get on the same page too and push the program forward. It's pretty critical nowadays that you do that. IndyCar is so competitive that it's hard to keep up if you're not pushing forward at a rapid rate each and every weekend.
“We've made big strides by ourselves, but I think we're going to make even bigger strides with a partner there and for someone for me to learn from and try to better myself.”
Carpenter added that additional entries could materialize for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in May. This year, JR Hildebrand drove a second Ed Carpenter Racing car and Alex Tagliani drove a second Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing entry.