With IndyCar’s iRacing Challenge series completed, the series’ drivers and teams are now looking forward to the real start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar series. After multiple postponements and cancellations due to the ongoing pandemic, the first race currently scheduled is the Genesys 600 from Texas Motor Speedway on June 6.
Ed Carpenter believes there is plenty of time for his team to prepare for on-track action. Even though there is only four weeks until the first scheduled event, and his team’s home city of Indianapolis, Indiana is currently under stay at home orders through the end of this week, the long-time owner/driver does not foresee any troubles getting his team ready to race.
“I really don’t think it will take that long to get us going,” said Carpenter. “I think a week, week and a half if we had to we could be ready to go.
“The stuff came back from St. Pete and got unloaded. Really haven’t touched anything since then. Kept everyone onboard. When we can get back to work, which we’re hoping is sooner than later, from when we’re projecting to be able to get back to work, I don’t see the Texas date being an issue for us to be ready for.”
Ed Carpenter Racing, along with 10 other IndyCar teams, travelled to St. Petersburg in mid-March expecting to get the season underway. The sudden delays have resulted in an abnormally long off-season, over eight months by time action resumes, but Carpenter doesn’t believe that will be a problem for the drivers.
“I don’t think it will be too bad. In IndyCar we don’t have a brief off-season as is. I don’t think it takes that long for the muscle memory to kick in. Racecar drivers can feel the car and know what it’s doing. I think we’ll be able to put on a great show when we get back on track, hopefully in June.
“I know that everyone is chomping at the bit to get back. It’s for sure been a challenge I think more than anything just dealing with the anxiety of when we can get back to work, when are we going to go racing.”
Carpenter, as he has done in recent years, is only going to be behind the wheel on the ovals for 2020, leaving Conor Daly to drive the car #20 car on this year’s road courses. The 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus Veekay is set to make his IndyCar debut in the team’s second entry once the season gets going.
“My excitement level for Rinus is still very high,” said Carpenter of the young Dutch driver. “He’s an extremely talented young man. I think talented guys, they’re able to get up to speed quickly. That’s one of the things that he impressed us with when we first tested him.
“There’s going to be some challenges without a doubt, having a rookie in an abbreviated season like we’re going to be in. I do believe he’ll be up to the challenge and we’ll be able to do some other things as a team to support him, help nurture him through that progress.”
There has not yet been confirmation of how IndyCar will manage the series’ return to racing, but with NASCAR having made plans to hold events with no fans in the stands and minimal staff, the assumption is that a similar setup will be in place. Regardless of those details, Ed Carpenter Racing will be ready to race once IndyCar gives the green light.