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The amalgamation of Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing officially occurred in late 2014, forging the fabled new CFH Racing. Perhaps not since Ferdinand and Isabella’s marriage unifying Spain in the 15th century has a union been so momentous. On the surface the IndyCar marriage makes sense, as both capital deprived single car teams could use a team mate’s help, data and support. The thinking was that two marginally to mildly successful groups would join forces and become greater than the sum of their parts – like medieval Spain, a new force to be reckoned with. Scratch the surface on that shiny new IndyCar edifice however, and the crucial process of integration has a ways to go.
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All the team principles – Sarah, Wink, Newgarden, Ed – face some degree of change in the new arrangement, which as we all know can be difficult. But if the new CFHR kingdom is to succeed in the ‘Game of Thrones’ world of IndyCar, then one team member above the rest must rise up to defend the fortress. Carpenter has by far the greatest amount of adjustment ahead of him, as he’s been owner/driver of his own team for several years now and previously drove for his step dad Tony George’s Vision Racing, created expressly for him. Working effectively with squirrely teammate squire Josef is an entirely new realm for the solitary Duke of Speedway to enter.
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The three time IndyCar winner must learn the meaning of teamwork, particularly in the oval races he’ll be piloting alongside Newgarden in 2015. Prince Ed has had team mates at the Indy 500 and a few other races in the past, but not in a sustained, season long effort since his first full time season in 2004 with Red Bull. He’s rumored to have friend and fellow American J.R. Hildebrand ready to drive the number 20 car on road and street courses, taking over the former duties of Kentish Mike Conway. That’s a whole other province of team work he’ll have to master, and with a new slightly damaged apprentice.
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Prince Ed must also work together on the ownership and administrative sides of the kingdom with Queen Sarah and Archbishop Hartman, who’ve been together in tandem for several years now. Adding in another partner – a third wheel, if you will – no doubt will take some adjusting for Sarah and Wink, but nothing compared to what the Duke of Speedway faces. It’s a hard lesson of life that there’s no business like family business, which he’s just left behind for the first time. Real world business can at times be medieval in its means.
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Whether it’s on track or off, where the rubber meets the road or the business side of racing, the ‘C’ in CFHR has a lot of coping with change in store for him in 2015. The honeymoon’s over and Prince Ed’s wild ride promises to be entertaining for fans and commentators alike. The results won’t be fully known for many months, but will Carpenter be up to what’s perhaps the greatest challenge of his racing career? He has a tremendous amount of adjusting to do in even attempting such a heroic feat, and will deserve a princely share of credit if he’s able to pull it off.
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