Ed Carpenter's Resolution: Owner or Driver
At Watkins Glen, Robin Miller found Ed Carpenter while doing his grid run. Robin asked Ed who was going to be driving for Ed Carpenter Racing, and without missing a beat Ed said: “I am”. So Male Ego once again is making decisions at Ed Carpenter Racing. Ed is wearing two hats, or more plainly a hat and a helmet. I’m beginning to think that he’s not switching mindsets when he switches hats.
Gone are the days of IRL and CART. It is one league, IndyCar and it runs on two types of tracks: ovals and road/street courses. A driver earns points from each race. Having two separate drivers for separate track types hurts everyone. In 2014 the duties were split between Ed (262 points, ended in 22nd position) and Michael Conway (252 points, ended in 23rd position), being generous in predictionary math, should it had been only one individual, that puts it at 514 points and 8th place. 2016 and 2017 had ride share duties between Ed and Spencer Pigot. Again being a bit gracious in predictionary math, should the #20 had been driven by one individual instead of two, the sole driver would have found themselves in 19th (2016) and 13th (2017) place.
It goes without saying, but since we’re dealing with what I suspect to be Male Ego I’ll put it down: higher standings = more publicity = more sponsorship. By having two separate people driving it splits the opportunity for one of the drivers to climb in the standing. It also will break up any sort of rhythm an individual driver may have, with the largest stretch of similar races being in April from the Toyota GP of Long Beach through the IndyCar Grand Prix in the first part of May, just three races. Gaining momentum is always important, and having drivers switch from driving to not driving stalls their momentum and may affect future performance.
There’s also a rule change that may screw both drivers of the #20. Starting in 2018 the qualification process for ovals will change. Qualifications will be run according to entrant points with the entrant with the fewer points going first, and those with the most going last. Now “entrant” is tied to the car's number, so it may be that when they speak of entrant they speak of the car number. That, however, goes against the idea behind the change of having the drivers with most points, therefore performing the best, qualify for the better part of the evening. This is going to hurt the #20 drivers again.
I’m from Indiana, I spent many years of my youth in Speedway Indiana. I’m geographically obligated to cheer for Ed Carpenter, his shop was right on Main Street (they’re currently moving), he’s the adopted son of the Hullman family. But it’s time for Ed Carpenter to make a decision – is he a driver or is he a team owner. He can no longer be both.