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June 7, 2014

Ed Carpenter

Tony George


THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll continue with our post‑race press conference coverage.テつ We're joined by tonight's winner of the Firestone 600, Ed Carpenter, driver of the Fuzzy's Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy.テつ Your third career victory here in the Verizon IndyCar Series, first at Texas Motor Speedway, second win of the season for Ed Carpenter Racing.テつ You led 90 laps tonight.テつ Coming off a disappointment at Indy, talk about this run and what it means for you and the organization.
ED CARPENTER:テつ It's just good to bounce back.テつ Nothing really totally makes up for a missed opportunity at the speedway, but at the same time it always feels good to win, especially at a place like this.テつ I've enjoyed coming to this racetrack for a long time and appreciate the job that Eddie does here for our series and the drivers.テつ This is a big win for us.
THE MODERATOR:テつ What is it about oval racing that brings the best out of you, a win here at Texas?テつ You had success here last year, too.
ED CARPENTER:テつ Yeah, we've been pretty fast here the past couple years.テつ I've always liked this place and ran okay, just haven't had good luck here to be honest, so it was nice to finally break through tonight.テつ The team gave me a great car.テつ They've been giving us great cars all year for myself and Mike, so it's nice to be able to deliver, just really proud of the whole team and the effort and proud to be able to represent Fuzzy's and do a good job for them with how much they've supported us the past two‑and‑a‑half years.テつ It's good for everyone involved.

Q.テつ Tony George, talk about the win tonight, what it means for your organization, two wins already on the win.
TONY GEORGE:テつ Well, I'm very proud of Ed, obviously, and this whole team led by Tim Broyles and Bret Schmitt and Matt Barnes.テつ They're a great group of people, and our plan this year was to be competitive every week we showed up at the racetrack.テつ This is a great win for Ed in 2014, and we think we can win more with Mike and Ed, and our intent was to show up this year prepared to contend every weekend and try to win the championship.

Q.テつ When that last caution came out, what was going through your mind?
ED CARPENTER:テつ On one hand I was nervous, just because I wasn't sure what the right decision was for us to make.テつ It's hard to pit, but we were pretty far into our tires, and you know new tires are going to be strong.テつ I figured we'd stay out with that few a laps left.テつ I wasn't sure how many guys would pit.テつ I knew some would, but just fortunate there were three laps left, and we were able to get a good enough restart.テつ Montoya stays out on old tires, I think Dixon was behind him maybe, opened up enough of a gap that the rest of the guys couldn't get close to me that had newer tires.テつ I'm guessing probably many more laps left than what we were going to have, we probably would have had to have pit.テつ It was a handful the last couple laps, but you get in that position I've got to make sure I bring it home for the guys because they did such a great job all night with the changes on the car during the race, the pit stops, I felt like it was our race to win.

Q.テつ A lot of drivers have had frustrations from Indy and were able to race them out last weekend at Detroit.テつ You were up there on top of the pit box watching Mike Conway racing.テつ How comforting was it to get back at it and get beyond the frustrations you felt at Indy?
ED CARPENTER:テつ It felt good.テつ There's no denying the fact that I was really mad after Indy.テつ It's not that I'm still mad at Hinch, but I'm still mad at the situation and that we lost an opportunity.テつ I want to try to win every session, every race that we go to, whether I'm driving or Mike is driving.テつ We're just going to try to keep the intensity up and try to keep fighting for wins.テつ The team is certainly capable and they give us cars.テつ Just got to put it all together week in and week out.

Q.テつ Juan Montoya was a little miffed about the restart.テつ Can you talk us through it, how it was for you?
ED CARPENTER:テつ I figured he'd be miffed.テつ I was kind of sick of him.テつ He was lagging back, trying to lay back, so yeah, I was slowing down because he was lagging back.テつ I didn't want him to get a jump on me.テつ I'm the leader of the race.テつ You're not supposed to lag back.テつ We talked about that in the drivers' meeting.テつ If he wants to talk to me about it, I'll be happy to.テつ He ended up finishing third anyway, right, so it doesn't matter.

Q.テつ Will said before he thought it was perfect tonight.テつ What was your take?
ED CARPENTER:テつ Yeah, I thought it was really good, especially by the end of the race when it had finally cooled off, I thought the track was very racy and the tires were degrading but not as much as we'd seen in the past.テつ We had one tough stint early, but I liked it.テつ It's still really challenging, yet we were able to go out and use multiple grooves pretty much the whole race, especially towards the end.テつ I thought IndyCar did a good job.テつ I think Firestone did a great job with the tire.テつ So yeah, they always do.

Q.テつ With as good as Power was early, what did you do to keep your focus that you could really need at some point?
ED CARPENTER:テつ Well, most of the race he had the benefit of clean air.テつ It seemed like throughout the race he would kind of get a bit of a lead and then when he would get into lap traffic the group would close in on him, so I felt like maybe he was struggling a little bit in dirty air, and that's when I was finally able to get by him was in lap traffic.テつ He got caught out by some guys and we were able to time it right and get by him and then kind of open up a little bit of a gap.テつ You know, his car may have been a little bit quicker than ours, but I don't think it was as good as ours all around through a whole stint in clean air, dirty air.テつ Really happy for the guys.

Q.テつ With one more lap do you think Power would have gotten by you?
ED CARPENTER:テつ I don't know, I don't know how big the gap was.テつ When I crossed the line I was just trying to get every bit of speed out of my car as I could the last couple laps.テつ I felt okay about it after the first lap because I got a big enough gap on Montoya on the restart.テつ Yeah, it's hard to say how many laps it would have taken for Will.テつ Certainly new tires are a pretty big advantage when we were about 30 some laps into mine.テつ They definitely drop off quite a bit right around the halfway point.テつ Certainly wouldn't have been able to hold him off much longer, but there were only four laps to go, three to go when we took the start, so the guys made the right call.

Q.テつ Tony, with what Texas Motor Speedway has meant to this series from '97 there's only been two tracks on the schedule to post a race every year, Indianapolis and Texas.テつ How big a moment is this for you to get a victory at Texas for what it's really meant to the current series?
TONY GEORGE:テつ Well, and until this year, Texas was the only one who had hosted two races in a year.テつ But I always enjoy coming here for the same reasons Ed has mentioned.テつ Eddie does a great job.テつ He is very much a part of the IndyCar Series, the Indy Racing League from its very beginning, and the track is very challenging, so it's a big kudos to this team for being able to be the best car this evening.
You know, over the time the track has changed.テつ It's got more difficult to come here and be good over the course of however many laps the race happens to be, and tonight was our longest, and this team did a great job, Ed did a great job actually.テつ A lot of credit goes to him for managing the whole race.テつ I wasn't sure the strategy kind of kept changing and weren't sure where we were going to go, but we did have to pit early once but that kind of caused some other dominos to fall, and it was a big win for us here at Texas.テつ I'm glad Ed finally was able to post a win here.

Q.テつ You and Eddie Gossage, looked like you had a pretty good time in victory lane.テつ What was going on?
TONY GEORGE:テつ Well, I haven't seen Eddie very often when I come to the race.テつ I've been to every race, but in the last five years I've only run across him a couple of times, and I'm glad to see he's doing well.テつ I love Big Hoss, and we were just kind of sharing some ideas.テつ He was giving me a hard time.テつ I think Ed told him about an encounter I had with Fort Worth's finest this afternoon just trying to get back to the hotel.テつ But it was nothing, we were just kind of joking having a good time.

Q.テつ Ed, you're in contention at Indy, you come here, you win.テつ How do you stay so sharp at ovals with such big gaps in between?テつ What's the secret?
ED CARPENTER:テつ I don't think there is one.テつ I work hard all year‑round.テつ I train in my office and in the shop every day.テつ I mean, what I said before Indy, no one had run an oval since Fontana, and we'd tested as much as anyone.テつ I'll be testing twice this week.テつ So just because you're not in a car doesn't mean you can't be prepared.テつ I'm engaged with the team every day.テつ I don't feel I'm missing anything.テつ I mean, I'd like to run more races always, but I'm happy to run the ones I am and want to make the most of it, and like I said earlier, every time we get in the car I feel like Mike and I both have a chance to win right now with the job the team is doing for us.

Q.テつ Ed, I just wondered about Fuzzy's.テつ You guys made the decision to bring in Mike Conway.テつ I'm just wondering what that does for a sponsor that's stood behind you?
ED CARPENTER:テつ I hope they're happy.テつ You can never speak for anyone else, but Stewart, one of our partners and partner in Fuzzy's is here somewhere, he hasn't been able to make it down; he was up in a condo in Turn 2, so I'm sure they're having a good time tonight.テつ Hopefully this is just one of many more to come.

Q.テつ Mr.Carpenter, your oval prowess over several years, no matter the cars, no matter the aero package has shined despite never having driven for Andretti or Ganassi or Penske.テつ Do you attribute any of that success to your experience in the U.S. Auto Club, and if so, what would you do to encourage more of those young men and women in those ranks to pursue a career in American automobile racing?
ED CARPENTER:テつ I certainly think it did.テつ I learned a lot, driven in all three divisions.テつ I ran there when they did Midget, Sprint Cars, Silver Crown.テつ It has changed a lot from when I ran there.テつ There was a lot of pavement races, a lot of dirt races in all three divisions, and there's no pavement Sprint car races anymore, which I think is a travesty.テつ I think they need to have some pavement races back on, too.テつ The Silver Crown races were great for learning how to manage tires.テつ You're running one set of tires, one tank of fuel for 100 miles, I think I learned more about patience and managing a car and dealing with something that's not perfect all the time in the Silver Crown races, and those have kind of all gone away as far as pavement racing goes.
I'd like to see them get into more of a schedule like when I was there and Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart and those guys were there, it's just their schedule has changed and it's going to make it harder for those guys to go anywhere.

Q.テつ Ed and Tony, everyone talks about the big three with Penske, Ganassi and Andretti, so I'm curious now that both you and your teammate have won a race this season, where do you see you guys ranking against those three, and is there a timetable in place to maybe find another driver or a primary driver who can go chase a driver's championship?
ED CARPENTER:テつ I mean, we'd love to go to a team when we have the opportunity, but at the same time, we want to be able to grow at our own pace and do it in a way that's going to allow us to continue to do things the way we're doing them now, which we feel like is working.テつ You know, I wouldn't trade any one person on our team for any other person up and down pit lane.テつ We've got a good group of people, and I think we're able to show that on track right now.テつ Like I keep saying, really proud of the whole team, the whole effort, the whole group.テつ It's a great team to be a part of.テつ We have a lot of fun, and it's even more fun when you're winning.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gentlemen, congratulations.テつ Thank you very much.

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