ED CARPENTER RACING EAGER TO BEGIN 2016 VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES SEASON   

Josef Newgarden Leads ECR’s Charge at Season-Opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

(SPEEDWAY, Ind.) March 8, 2016 – Advance Notes

This weekend’s 2016 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will mark the return of Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) to the Verizon IndyCar Series grid. Founded in 2012, the ECR competed under the CFH Racing banner in 2015 after integrating with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.

ECR will shift their focus to one car for St. Petersburg, the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet of Josef Newgarden. Newgarden will compete in all 16 Verizon IndyCar Series events in 2016 while team owner Ed Carpenter will run the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet in the five oval races.

What is now Ed Carpenter Racing entered two cars in the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Newgarden and Luca Filippi in the No. 20. Despite battling against a damaged front wing in the final laps of the event, Newgarden managed to finish in 12th. Filippi brought home ECR’s best finish to date in the 110-lap race with a 9th place result.

Newgarden’s best finish around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street course came in 2014 when the Hendersonville, Tenn.-native finished 9th.

Ed Carpenter Racing and Josef Newgarden both made their respective IndyCar debuts in St. Petersburg. The 2012 race in the downtown streets of the Florida city was the first for ECR, Carpenter’s newly-formed team. Newgarden’s first IndyCar start came the same day with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing on the heels of his 2011 Firestone Indy Lights championship.

For the first four events of 2016, Newgarden’s No. 21 will feature a special paint scheme depicting the newest addition to the Fuzzy’s Vodka portfolio. The Commemorative 100th Running Limited Edition bottle, which celebrates the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, will be available in early April.

Newgarden, who turned 25 in December, is coming off the best season of his Verizon IndyCar Series career. He earned his first win only four races into the 2015 season at Barber Motorsports Park, then led teammate Filippi to the team’s first ever 1-2 finish in the streets of Toronto in June. Highlights of Newgarden’s year also included two additional podium finishes, capturing his first career pole position at the Milwaukee Mile and leading the most laps (345) of all drivers in 2015. Heading into the final race of the year, Newgarden was one of six drivers that remained eligible for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship and would finish 7th in the standings.

Practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg begins on Friday, March 11. The race will be broadcast live on ABC at 12:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, March 13.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET: “I can’t wait to get down to St. Pete and kick things off. It’s been a fun offseason getting to work with the Ed Carpenter Racing group, but you can’t really simulate a real race weekend. It will be nice to see how well our homework has paid off over the offseason and hopefully we’re in a good place to start. I’ve got a lot of faith in our entire Fuzzy’s Vodka crew and we’re looking to start the year with a strong result!”