Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Carpenter to team with Barron
INDIANAPOLIS -- Super sub Alex Barron and rookie Ed
Carpenter will drive this year for Red Bull Cheever Racing, which
is expanding to become a two-car team.
It could grow to three cars if team owner Eddie Cheever decides
to drive. The 1998 Indianapolis 500 champion gave up his seat last
year to concentrate on running the team with rookie Buddy Rice
behind the wheel.
"He has not said whether he'll get back in the car or not,''
spokeswoman Ashley Miller said of Cheever. "He's still keeping it
open. It's always a possibility.''
Cheever said last year that he would not drive again until his
struggling team is in a position to win in the IRL. The team was
15th last season in IRL entrant points and failed to post a
Still, Cheever was optimistic Tuesday about prospects for 2004.
"GM ended on a really strong note last year,'' said Cheever,
who began using a new Chevrolet engine late in the season. "Not
only are we expanding to a two-car team, we're doing it with two of
the best American open-wheel drivers out there.''
The 2004 season begins Feb. 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The 33-year-old Barron was everyone's favorite fill-in last
year, subbing in various races with different teams for injured Gil
de Ferran, Arie Luyendyk and Felipe Giaffone. His only victory was
with Mo Nunn Racing at Michigan International Speedway in place of
Barron joined Cheever for the final three races of the season,
posting a top finish of seventh at Chicagoland Speedway.
"I'm really looking forward to having a full-time ride,''
Barron said. "The crew has already been working so hard to prepare
for the season.''
Carpenter, the 22-year-old stepson of IRL and Indianapolis Motor
Speedway president Tony George, drove in the developmental Infiniti
Pro Series and in three IRL races for PDM Racing last year.
He said Cheever has been a racing mentor "throughout my entire
"Being teammates with an experienced driver like Alex Barron
will be a great advantage for me,'' Carpenter said.