CFH Racing will have a new driver in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series road/street course events, team co-owner Ed Carpenter confirmed.
“Mike won’t be back with us next year as he’s under contract with Toyota in the WEC. They had an option on him that they did take so he’ll be restricted in the events he can make.
“It’s unfortunate, but we thank him for what he did. We’ll be going in a different direction and hopefully in the next month we’ll be able to make a decision on a driver and make an announcement and have more success.”
Conway won at Long Beach and Toronto in the No. 20 car during the 12 road/street races he competed. Carpenter drove in the six oval races on the schedule, winning at Texas Motor Speedway and earning the Verizon P1 Award for the Indianapolis 500 for the second consecutive year.
Josef Newgarden, the 2011 Indy Lights champion, enters his fourth Verizon IndyCar Series season as the driver of the team’s other full-season entry. The team announced in mid-August that Ed Carpenter Racing would merge with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing to form CFH Racing for the 2015 season.
“I do think we’re in a good position. We’ve shown as a team results on all circuits. Moving to the new team of CFH Racing we think will give us the ability to be stronger. I feel like we’re an attractive landing spot and now it’s just a matter of evaluating our options and making the best decision on who we think will bring the most talent to the team and fit in with the team.”
JR Hildebrand, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, tested with Newgarden at Barber Motorsports Park in October. Hildebrand drove the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing entry in the Indy 500 in May.
“Just when we think we have (a list) narrowed we get a call from someone who is intriguing” Carpenter said. “That is the difficult part about it. It went so well with Mike last year. Now it’s about bringing someone in who is going to help the team.”
Earlier in the day, CFH Racing and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation announced a partnership in which the agency will be an associate sponsor on the team's cars in 2015 for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis 500 and the season-concluding GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.
“Sarah and I have built our lives here, built our businesses here and to partner with the state – the state that works – and show people that it is a great place to grow your business or start your business is our mission,” Carpenter said. “It is a natural partnership.”