From the time he decided to concentrate on ovals and leave the NTT IndyCar Series road and street course events to a teammate, Ed Carpenter has shared the No. 20 Chevy with six drivers. The question facing the series’ only owner/driver is whether a seventh name will adorn his trusted entry when we get to 2022.
Mike Conway (2014), Luca Filippi (2015), Spencer Pigot (2016-2017), Jordan King (2018), Ed Jones (2019), and Conor Daly (2020-2021) have joined Carpenter in the ride-share adventure so far, and with the recent departure of the Air Force as Daly’s primary sponsor to cover his costs in the No. 20 entry, the search is on to assess whether a new and funded driver might step in and fill the financial void.
“We certainly hope to have it buttoned up before the calendar flips over, which I think is realistic,” Carpenter told RACER of the decision-making timeline. “And in that vein, we don’t have have plans to use any of our team test days prior to January because we want to be make sure we’re in position to maximize those with whoever’s going to be driving the car next year. So hopefully, it’ll keep moving and coming together, and there’s definitely a lot of conversations taking place. It’s obviously my top priority at this stage of the offseason.”
Of the six drivers to share the No. 20, four have hailed from Europe while Americans Pigot and Daly have fit nicely within the program. Daly believes he can raise the same amount of funding to match or slightly exceed what the Air Force contributed, but Carpenter is doing what any team owner would do by giving himself enough time to see what’s offered by other high-quality drivers before deciding to continue with Daly or welcome someone new to the car.
“There’s a lot of people we all like, and I wouldn’t really want to put odds on anyone at this stage,” Carpenter said. “You know, certainly Conor and I still see plenty of each other and talk regularly. So he’s aware of where I am at and what we’re trying to do, and I’m staying current with where he is at on things he’s working on. As well as how others are getting on with what they’re working on to be with us.
“So even if I was going to be fully truthful and transparent, it’d be hard for me to put exact odds on anything today just because there’s still a lot of moving pieces. But we want to be ready to go testing soon in the new year, so getting everything buttoned up so we can do that is the priority.”