Carpenter happy with Hunter-Reay but ride still not certain

Ed Carpenter says that while he was happy with Ryan Hunter-Reay’s driver evaluation test, it doesn’t mean the 2012 champion is favorite for the drive for next year.

Carpenter happy with Hunter-Reay but ride still not certain

Hunter-Reay drove the Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet to second fastest in the five-car test but he’s still competing with incumbent Conor Daly and 2019 Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew for the ride in the U.S. Air Force-backed car.

The 18-time race-winner departed Andretti Autosport last month after a 12-year stretch, and has long been a candidate for the #20 ECR car, which would entail him sharing the car with ovals-only team owner Carpenter, and racing ECR’s traditional extra entry for the Indianapolis 500.

But Carpenter said the 2014 Indy winner was picked for this test because ECR had two seasons-worth of data from Daly, and also already had a read on Askew, because the latter had subbed for the injured Rinus VeeKay at Road America in June.

“I don’t have enough information on the business end of it to say if Ryan is favorite for the drive,” Carpenter explained to Motorsport.com. “Conor is still an option, Oliver is still an option, and so is Ryan.

“For us, this test was important because it gave us a chance to work with Ryan, when we’d already had a chance to work with the other two. And I think it was important for Ryan as well to get a chance to work with us.

“This test means we now have more hard data to work from when we have discussions internally and with the Air Force, as they’re making their decision as well. I’m just happy that we have quality options across the board. I’d be nervous if we only had one good option.

“And I thought it was a pretty good day. We got through a decent list of test items that we wanted to try, or things that we wanted answers to after our last race there in April.

“Ryan’s got a ton of experience, so he knows what he’s feeling, knows what he wants. I think for sure he found there were some key differences between what he was used to in the Andretti car and what he found with our car, some positive, some negative. But it was a decent day.

“It’s obviously difficult to judge how competitive you were or weren’t because there weren’t many cars out there, and there were a lot of new combinations of driver and teams. But I felt it was a productive and beneficial day from what we learned.”

Asked whether he felt Hunter-Reay was content with the option of running only 13 of the 17 races in 2022, Carpenter replied, “Yeah, I think he’s fine with that, especially as it has Indy as part of the program. Like anyone, I’m sure he’d like to do the whole season, but our consistency at the Speedway is appealing to him.

"He understands that right now, we don’t have all the pieces in place to run a third car for me for all the ovals, which is what we’d all like, so for now whoever gets the ride will be sharing the #20. He’s OK with that.”

shares
comments
Hulkenberg impresses Arrow McLaren SP in first IndyCar test
Previous article

Hulkenberg impresses Arrow McLaren SP in first IndyCar test

Next article

Malukas on first IndyCar test: “I wasn’t expecting it to be so good!”

Malukas on first IndyCar test: “I wasn’t expecting it to be so good!”
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021