29-year-old IZOD IndyCar Series veteran Ed Carpenter is returning to the track. It was announced today that Fuzzy Zoeller and Fuzzy's Vodka, who sponsored Ed at Indy, will return as sponsor for 3 races this season. Carpenter will run the #20 Panther/Vision Racing Dallara at Kentucky, Chicagoland and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The addition of Carpenter at Chicagoland not only adds another competitive car to the field, but it should also push the entry list to 29. With 5 part-time entries including Graham Rahal, Davey Hamilton, Sarah Fisher, Jay Howard and now Ed Carpenter added to the 24 full-time entries, the IZOD IndyCar Series will have to either amend their 28 car count rule at Chicagoland, or allow bumping.
UPDATE: The IZOD IndyCar Series did amend the rule, allowing for 29 cars at Chicagoland.
“We knew from the beginning that we wanted to run Ed for more than just the Indianapolis 500. I’ve got to thank Fuzzy’s Vodka and Tony George for making this happen; they’ve put in a lot of hard work since we finished at Indianapolis to make this deal happen and we know that Ed is going to be able to step right back in the No. 20 car and be a major factor in all three of these events. He worked very well with (Dan) Wheldon during Indianapolis and I’m sure their relationship will continue to help our team get back into victory lane.” - Panther Managing Partner and CEO, John Barnes
"I cannot wait to get back on the racetrack in the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car. We had such a great month of May, I am excited to finish what we started. All three races that we are doing we should be very competitive, and I am hoping to deliver for Fuzzy, Stuart Reed, Vision and Panther. It has been a long season watching IndyCar action from the sidelines, so I am eager to get back into the action.” - Ed Carpenter
“We’re really very excited about the opportunity to compete in more IndyCar races this season thanks to the support of Fuzzy Zoeller and his Ultra Premium Vodka along with John Barnes and the Panther Racing team. We’re looking forward to building on the experience of both teams and our partnership at the Indianapolis 500 this year to secure strong results.” - Vision Racing Owner, Tony George
“The Indianapolis 500 experience with Ed Carpenter, Vision and Panther Racing was really enjoyable and we saw it as a success for Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka. We really wanted to continue our relationship and partnership with Tony, Ed and the teams and I’m looking forward to supporting Ed’s run at these tracks.” - Fuzzy Zoeller