Danica Patrick’s plan when she announced her impending retirement from racing last fall was to finish her career at the Indy 500. There was one hitch at that time. She didn’t have a race team to put her in the race. That was until Ed Carpenter Racing stepped up and offered her a car.
Ed Carpenter is the only person on the Indy Car Series who doubles up as a racer and a team owner. He used to race against Patrick when she was still part of the IndyCar Series.
“She was here for a good while and had a lot of success,” said Carpenter. “She took a different direction with her career and went to stock cars for a long time and came back.”
Carpenter like Patrick is an Illinois native. He was born in Paris, Illinois and he grew up in Marshall, Illinois until he was eight and his family moved to Indianapolis. He has three wins in his IndyCar career. He has never won the Indy 500 but he has earned three pole positions including the pole for this Sunday.
Patrick says her chemistry level with Carpenter and his team these past few months has been outstanding.
“It’s been great! Really great,” said Patrick at a recent press conference at IMS. “I mean, shoot we even worked together on working out the deal. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before, so he’s been really nice and easy to work with. He’s been very helpful.”
Carpenter is not only helping out a former competitor and friend helping out an old friend, but by bringing Patrick on board this month it has brought more attention to his team. Plus he remembers that Patrick was a pretty darn good racer on the Indy Series.
“She was, especially in this race. She only had one DNF maybe if that in all her starts. In IndyCars she was always very efficient with managing the car and results. I think she’ll bring real value to the team.”
While Carpenter stars from the pole position Sunday Patrick will start in the seventh spot on the grid in her #13 GoDaddy Chevrolet.