Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden and owner/driver Ed Carpenter had a mixed night at the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway.
Ed Carpenter in the No.20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet started the race from fifth place on the grid on his first Verizon IndyCar Series outing of the 2016 season as he competes in the five oval events on the calendar.
Carpenter had a great race and was running in third place when he went to challenge Team Penske’s Will Power for second place however he suffered from under-steer and hit the marbles at Turn 2 and hit the wall retiring from the race on lap 195 of the 250 lap race. Speaking following the race, Carpenter whose next outing of the year will be the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May commented saying:
The team put Josef (Newgarden) and I in a great position all weekend. It’s been really hard to pass out there, which is surprising. After the warmup, I thought it was going to be a really ‘racey’ race, but everyone just kind of equalized tonight. I got a run on Will (Power) out of Turn 2, thought I was maybe going to be able to get inside in Turn 3 . It wasn’t going to happen. He raced me hard but clean. When I backed out to fall back in line, I just picked up a little bit of understeer and got the marbles. It is a shame for the Fuzzy Vodka car. We were a couple laps away from pitting there and we should be out there fighting for the win. I feel like I let the team down.
Josef Newgarden who started the race from seventh place in the No.21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet fell to the back of the field following his first stop as the team were unable to fill his car with fuel meaning the American had to go back around a second time before being fueled up.
Newgarden managed to stay on the lead lap however he was forced to make another unscheduled stop after Charlie Kimball clipped the front wing of the No.21. Newgarden recovered and went on to end the race in sixth place. Speaking afterwards he stated:
The weekend went a little tougher than we wanted, overall. We got great performance out of the car, we just didn’t get the results we probably could have achieved. The race was difficult. If we could have stayed up front all night without having problems, it could have been different. We just kept going to the back of the field, first with the pit stop mishap and then with the broken front wing. We kept charging forward, which speaks volumes to to the performance of the car and what the team produced. It was a shame we couldn’t get a little higher than 6th, but it’s good points. We’ll move on to the next one and try to be a little higher up in the Fuzzy’s car.