The IZOD IndyCar Series' most recent first-time winner is doing something else for the first time in 2012: starting his own team.
Ed Carpenter, who scored both his and Sarah Fisher's first series win on Oct. 2 at Kentucky Speedway, announced on Wednesday the formation of Ed Carpenter Racing – a new team for the full season.
Carpenter will be an owner and driver for the Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka-sponsored team. Carpenter and Fuzzy's were first united in a partial season effort for Panther Racing in 2010, and Carpenter scored his first pole at Kentucky that year.
Tony George will also return to the fold in an ownership role with Carpenter. Fuzzy's will be the primary sponsor for three years. There was no mention of the engine choice the team will run.
“Team ownership is something that I have thought about for quite a long time, and is now becoming a reality as a result of a great relationship with Fuzzy and Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka,” Carpenter said. “I don't know that I ever thought that I would have the opportunity to be an owner/driver, but when an opportunity like this comes along, you can't pass it up. I can't wait to get to work and begin building this team for not only 2012, but beyond.”
A press conference formally announcing the team will be held Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It's unclear how the new Carpenter-led squad will affect Fisher's participation going forward. Sarah Fisher Racing has lost its primary sponsor Dollar General for 2012, and although the team ran a second car for Tomas Scheckter with Angie's List backing at Las Vegas, that was the first scheduled event for those two.
Fuzzy's adorned Buddy Rice's Panther Racing entry in his selected 2011 races, and was also on Dragon Racing's second car for Scott Speed and later Patrick Carpentier before the car failed to qualify for this year's Indianapolis 500.