Ed Carpenter's win Saturday night is the biggest win no one will remember. Unfortunately for him, the championship battle was so fierce with so much action going on around the track that no one paid much attention to the American winning his second career IndyCar race.
Carpenter's first series win was a thrilling one in that he just beat eventual series champion Dario Franchitti by mere inches at Kentucky Speedway last year. It wasn't just Carpenter's first win, but it was fan favorite Sarah Fisher's first win as a car owner as well.
This season, Carpenter decided to start his own team as he found an alliance with Fuzzy's Vodka. Carpenter struggled mightily on the road/street events, but was decent on the four ovals entering Fontana.
Carpenter's performance Saturday night in Fontana was nothing short of superb. He led a race-high 62 laps and was clearly the class of the field. All night long Carpenter was great in getting a tow from cars in front and dominated once he got out front.
By the way, the 62 laps led was one lap shy of his career total laps led entering the race. It's very impressive in this day and age to win a race as a single car owner/driver operation. He doesn't have a teammate with whom to share information. Carpenter is not only trying to figure out the new car on his own, but is adapting to the new rules and specs for different tracks. In addition, he has to play the owner role of the team as well.
The fact that he not only won, but dominated with what he's facing, is an incredible feat. I feel his drive was just as good if not better than the championship battle with the obstacles he faces each week as an owner/driver. Kudos to Carpenter and his entire team on that victory. He's a great ambassador for the series and I hope he can get in victory lane again next season. The series needs it.